Report: With $140 million payroll, Angels all capped out

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Angels owner Arte Moreno is done spending for the moment, sources told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.  According to the report, Moreno has told GM Tony Reagins he won’t be allowed to take on any additional salary this summer.

Including the $12 million they’re paying Scott Kazmir and the $11.4 million due to Gary Matthews Jr. in the final season of his 68-year deal, the Angels are spending just over $140 million on a 33-37 team this year.

$18 million of that is going to their big winter acquisition, Vernon Wells.  However, Wells is hitting just .193/.235/.317 with six homers and 16 RBI in 171 at-bats for his new club.

The Angels are also paying $8.8 million to relievers Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi after signing them as free agents.  Downs has been exceptional, but he has served two stints on the DL.  Takahashi has a 4.08 ERA and isn’t much more than a mop-up man at the moment (18 of his last 19 appearances have come in Angels losses).

Despite their struggles, the Angels are still very much in the AL West race.  They’re just three games back of the Rangers, who have lost five in a row.  However, without reinforcements, they’ll be at a definite disadvantage as the year goes on.  They have little pitching depth beyond their current rotation, and while their offense could get a little better if Wells and Torii Hunter rebound, the team doesn’t figure to finish any higher than ninth or 10th in the AL in runs (it’s 11th right now).

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.