Coco Crisp turned down Rays to re-sign with A’s

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Oakland paid a surprisingly steep price to re-sign Coco Crisp yesterday, giving the 32-year-old outfielder $14 million for two seasons, and I’m equally surprised to learn that the normally budget-conscious Rays finished runner-up for Crisp.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Crisp ultimately chose to remain with the A’s because he liked playing on the West Coast and “he thinks the team has more potential than people might think.”

The latter part seems pretty unlikely, because right now I can’t see any way the A’s aren’t a terrible team in 2012, and of course Slusser also notes that “the A’s came in with a better offer at the last moment.”

Crisp is certainly capable of being worth $14 million over the next two seasons, but I’m just not sure how he makes sense for the A’s at that price. And his agent may have had a similar thought, because Crisp’s two-year deal includes a $250,000 bonus if he’s traded.

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.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.