Your totally wacky and totally made up trade speculation of the day

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The sports schedule needs to figure out how to eliminate the couple of weeks between the Super Bowl and the spring training games starting because that void leads to boredom and that boredom leads to stuff like this from Harold Reynolds — laundered to arguable respectability by Ken Rosenthal — to bubble up to the surface:

Albert Pujols for Mark Teixeira.

And, if that doesn’t work, Pujols for Ryan Howard.

Think it’s nuts? Think again.

Rosenthal argues for it by suggesting that the Yankees need to “make a splash” and that the Cardinals would love to unload the Pujols contract headache. Pujols has a no-trade clause, but he’d agree to it, Rosenthal says. He may be right about that part.  Teixeira has one too, and Rosenthal says he’d agree to it.  That would make no sense.  Why would Teixeira want to leave the Yankees and willingly try to fill the shoes of a Cardinals legend? A legend, by the way, who is way better and way more beloved than Teixeira will ever be by Cardinals fans.  Rosenthal says the Cards could play him more to agree, but isn’t money the roadblock to keeping Pujols?

Rosenthal goes on to talk about a Howard-Pujols trade, which if I remember correctly got Buster Olney nearly laughed off the Internet last spring.  Or a trade to the Tigers for Miguel Cabrera because, you know, Pujols would just love to play in Detroit. He ends it all with a trade for Adrian Gonzalez, sending Pujols to Boston. That would probably make more sense than any of the other ones but that’s damning with faint praise given that all of these are psychotic scenarios.

Which isn’t to slam Rosenthal. He all but admits that they’re psychotic scenarios at the outset of his article.  I think he, like a lot of us, is just bored.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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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.