Diamondbacks to acquire Jason Marquis from the Nationals

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UPDATE: ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports that the Nationals will receive prospect shortstop Zach Walters from Arizona. The Diamondbacks are expected to cover the $2.47 million left on Marquis’ contract.

Walters, 21, is batting .302/.377/.485 with nine homers, 56 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 412 plate appearances with Class A South Bend this season. Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s No. 29 prospect coming into the season.

4:46 PM: FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Diamondbacks have agreed to a trade with the Nationals for right-hander Jason Marquis. It’s not yet known who the Nationals will receive in return or if they will pay any of his remaining salary for this season.

Marquis was scheduled to face the Mets this evening, but Yunesky Maya is expected to start in his place.

The Diamondbacks enter play today four games behind the Giants in the National League West and 4 1/2 behind the Braves in the Wild Card. They have struggled to find a reliable fifth starter for a while now, so Marquis represents an upgrade for the starting rotation.

4:28 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Diamondbacks are working to acquire Jason Marquis from the Nationals.

2:02 PM: Even though they bolstered their staff with the additions of Doug Fister and David Pauley on Saturday, the Tigers are still chasing after Jason Marquis, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.

The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore reports that the Nats and Tigers were extremely close to a Marquis deal on Thursday.  He indicated that the door was closed after the Fister trade, but Ladson is saying differently.

Kilgore also reported that the Nationals have Yunesky Maya traveling to Washington in case Marquis is traded prior to his scheduled start against the Mets tonight.

Marquis is 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 120 2/3 innings for the Nationals this season.  Following Fister’s addition, the Tigers have a rotation of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Fister and Brad Penny.  Penny, who had a dispute with Victor Martinez on the field Thursday, may be the odd-man out if the Tigers acquire another starter.

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.