Dodgers vendor asks bankruptcy court for protection

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The big foam fingers at Dodger Stadium might have a different digit raised next season.

With attendence well down at Chavez Ravine, Facility Merchandising Inc. isn’t feeling so good about the eight-year deal it signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2010 season.  It’s asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to intervene on its behalf as the Dodgers continue their bankruptcy proceedings.

FMI’s deal with the Dodgers guarantees it a minimum of $4.5 million per year through 2017, but the company claims it will lose about $2.5 million over the first two seasons of the agreement.  Now the company is worried that the potential for future gains could be wiped out by the Dodgers walking away from the contract, something that could happen through bankruptcy law.  According to the Los Angeles Times, FMI wants the Dodgers to decide whether to honor or reject the contract by the end of the season, before the company has to make this year’s payments to the Dodgers and buy next year’s merchandise.

The Dodgers argued in a court filing that FMI in leveraging the bankruptcy to try to redo the contract, with included no attendence benchmarks.  Dodger Stadium merchandise revenue is down 25 percent this year, but there’s nothing in the agreement to protect FMI against such a decline.

A hearing is set for Aug. 16.

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.