Yoenis Cespedes’ price tag expected to rise above $50 million

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com has an update on Yoenis Cespedes and says “the buzz in baseball circles is that it will take north of $50 million to sign” the 26-year-old Cuban outfielder.

Cespedes still has to establish residency in the Dominican Republic to officially become a free agent, but that’s viewed as merely a formality at this point.

And because he’s 26 years old with multiple seasons of professional experience Cespedes’ signing won’t be impacted by the recent collective bargaining agreement changes restricting international spending.

Aroldis Chapman received $30 million from the Reds after leaving Cuba in 2009 and just about every team in baseball has attended one of Cespedes’ workouts, including multiple general managers traveling to the Dominican Republic to get an in-person look. And of course there’s also the amazing 20-minute YouTube video that made the rounds last month.

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.