Rangers plan to explore contract extension with C.J. Wilson

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Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com earlier today that he expects to discuss a contract extension with C.J. Wilson over the next several weeks.

Wilson made a sucessful transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation last season, compiling a 15-8 record along with a 3.35 ERA over 33 starts during the regular season. He also played a significant part in the franchise’s first ever World Series appearance, posting a 3.70 ERA over four postseason starts.

The 30-year-old left-hander agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract last month in order to avoid arbitration, but will be a free agent following the 2011 season. While there’s more of a sense of urgency to get a deal done with Wilson, Daniels also confirmed that the club has already held internal discussions about keeping other “core” players. Daniels didn’t go into specifics, but Morosi names Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus as possibilities.

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.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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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.