Now that the Ubaldo Jimenez sweepstakes have ended, other dominoes can begin falling.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com passes along notice that the Red Sox are “closing in” on a deal for Athletics right-hander Rich Harden.
He doesn’t have the upside of Ubaldo, but Harden has posted a cool 30/10 K/BB ratio and 1.16 WHIP since returning from the disabled list in early July. The 29-year-old right-hander has a 3.65 career major league ERA and is owed less than $1 million through the end of the season.
The two sides are still talking, but an agreement could be reached at some point late Saturday night. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is hearing that first base prospect Lars Anderson may be headed to Oakland.
UPDATE, 9:40 PM: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has the goods. The A’s will receive Anderson, who has a .782 OPS and 10 homers this year at Triple-A, and a player to be named later. The deal will be finalized on Sunday morning.
UPDATE, 1:10 AM: In a surprising turn of events, the trade has fallen through. Harden is scheduled to pitch for the A’s Tuesday against the Mariners and told reporters on Saturday night that he fully intends to make that start. Perhaps the Red Sox and A’s will revisit talks on Sunday morning.
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.
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.