The Red Sox have talked to the Royals about Jeff Francoeur

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I don’t post this because it’s likely to lead to anything. In fact the guy who reported that the Sox and Royals have discussed Francoeur — Jon Paul Morosi — said that they were “exploratory” and not likely to go anywhere. But the mere existence of Francoeur talks with a team other than Atlanta makes me feel a tad better about the state of the world, so I gotta cling on to it like grim death.

To be honest, though, Francoeur could help the Sox if they kept him in a strict platoon.  Same goes for just about anyone.  I have little faith that Atlanta would platoon him, though, so his very presence on the market causes me great vexation and agitation.

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.