By signing Mark Buehrle to a four-year, $58 million deal the Marlins made it pretty clear that they were no longer holding out much hope of reeling in Albert Pujols, and sure enough Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Pujols’ agent has informed Miami that they’re out of the running.
Or as Crasnick put it: “Albert Pujols will not be going to Florida.”
That obviously makes the Cardinals overwhelming favorites to re-sign Pujols, which has been the consensus coming from reporters at the winter meetings most of the day, but a source told Crasnick that Pujols “continues to negotiate with clubs other than the Cardinals.”
If the Cubs are one of those “clubs other than the Cardinals” team president Theo Epstein certainly isn’t leaving any hints, telling Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that there’s “nothing big we’re close to.”
UPDATE: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Marlins have officially withdrawn their offer to Pujols.
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.