“Pitching, pitching, pitching.”
Those were the words of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman earlier this week, fresh off wrapping up a contract extension for ace left-hander CC Sabathia.
The Yankees haven’t been shy about their focus this offseason, so it comes as no surprise that Cashman told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he plans to talk to free agent left-hander C.J. Wilson.
“We haven’t talked to him yet, but we will,” Cashman said. “They have won a lot and he’s been a big part of that, so we’ll certainly talk to him.”
Of course, just because the Yankees will talk to Wilson doesn’t mean a deal will actually happen. The 30-year-old southpaw is considered the top target in a weak free agent class for starting pitching, so Cashman wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t talk to the guy. And hey, it never hurts a free agent to have the big-spending Yankees involved in the conversation.
Wilson has a 3.14 ERA since joining the starting rotation in 2010, but really struggled this postseason, going 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA and 26/19 K/BB ratio over 28 innings. Cashman isn’t ready to write him off as an option, though, telling Martin that Wilson “has shown he can perform in a hitters’ environment in Texas.”
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.