Melky Cabrera unlikely to sign long-term extension with Royals

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General manager Dayton Moore told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com that the Royals are unlikely to sign Melky Cabrera to a long-term contract extension because the 27-year-old outfielder wants to test free agency following next season:

We’ll probably go a year at a time at this point, but he was a terrific player for us and we’re very proud of what he accomplished and we’d be very open to Melky being here long term. But I don’t see anything right now. I think he’s at a point in his career where he wants to look at things. He’s just a year away from free agency.

Cabrera had a very strong season, setting career-highs in batting average (.305), homers (18), doubles (44), RBIs (82), runs (109), steals (20), and OPS (.809). However, he’s just one year removed from a miserable season with the Braves and came into 2011 as a career .267 hitter with a .707 OPS. In other words, Cabrera might be doing the Royals a favor by not wanting to sign an extension coming off his best year.

He’ll get a big raise on this year’s $1.25 million salary via arbitration, but if the Royals still want to keep Cabrera long term he’ll likely be cheaper to sign after next season even if they have to out-bid other teams for him on the open market.

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.