Tal Smith got two weeks’ severance pay after 35 years with the Astros

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When the Astros fired Tal Smith last week after 35 years in the organization the longtime team president was upset with how the situation unfolded, saying he learned the news through the media and hadn’t spoken to new owner Jim Crane in months.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has a few more details about Smith’s firing, including the fact that the 78-year-old “will receive only two weeks’ severance pay from the club … because the Astros’ previous owner, Drayton McLane, did not arrange a more enticing golden parachute.”

Rosenthal reports that Smith’s contract actually expired on October 31, but he continued working as an at-will employee until being fired six days after the ownership transfer became official. Meanwhile, general manager Ed Wade was let go with two guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract.

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.