Shuffling the deck chairs: Dodgers acquire Juan Rivera from Blue Jays, drop Marcus Thames

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I’m not sure if this means the Dodgers think they’re buyers at 41-51 or what, but they’ve acquired Juan Rivera from the Blue Jays for a player to be named later or “cash considerations” while designating Marcus Thames for assignment.

Setting aside the absurdity of the Dodgers sending “cash considerations” to another team–surely the Blue Jays are paying nearly all of Rivera’s remaining salary–Rivera and Thames are about as identical as two players can get, as they’re both defensively challenged, right-handed-hitting corner outfielders with 25-homer power who should be limited to platoon roles facing left-handed pitching.

Rivera is 34 and has a .779 career OPS, Thames is 32 and has a .794 career OPS. Rivera might be slightly better than Thames in a larger role and he’s healthier at the moment, but by swapping them the Dodgers are basically doing nothing. Talk about shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

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.