UPDATE: Orioles president Andy MacPhail tells Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com that Bowden’s report “is not accurate.” He’s not the first one to say that.
8:32 AM: According to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio, Vladimir Guerrero is close to signing a one-year contract with the Orioles. Bowden calls it a “humbling deal” and “one of the best free agent bargains,” so we’re going to assume he’s not getting two-year deal he wanted this offseason.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reported on Thursday that the Orioles had the “inside track” on Guerrero, though the team’s interest was downplayed by Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com.
Guerrero, who turns 36 next month, batted .300/.345/.496 with 29 home runs and 115 RBI for the Rangers last season, although he did stumble to a .748 OPS after the All-Star break and struggled miserably during the World Series.
The potential addition of Guerrero would complicate things in Baltimore, as Luke Scott would have to find some bats either in left field at the expense of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold or at first base for the newly-signed Derrek Lee. For what it’s worth, Scott had a .902 OPS last season, so I’m not so sure he deserves to be the odd man out here.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.
The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.
Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.
Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.