Raul Ibanez agreed to decline Phillies’ arbitration offer

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Philadelphia’s decision to offer Raul Ibanez arbitration yesterday made zero sense unless the two sides had a pre-arranged agreement that the 39-year-old outfielder would decline.

Sure enough, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports exactly that, as Ibanez did the Phillies a favor and agreed ahead of time to decline an arbitration offer to basically just give them an extra draft pick.

Olney calls it “a wink/nod situation” and Ibanez isn’t the first player to do it. As a Type B free agent his status is unchanged by the arbitration offer, as any team signing him can still do so without forfeiting a draft pick. The only difference now is that the Phillies will get an extra supplemental round pick if/when he signs elsewhere.

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.