The Athletics have already traded for Josh Reddick, Seth Smith and Collin Cowgill and signed Coco Crisp and Jonny Gomes this offseason. But do you know what they could really use? Another outfielder.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A’s still have some interest in bringing back Conor Jackson. The 29-year-old was mentioned as a possibility even before the club re-signed Crisp earlier this month.
Jackson, a first-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2003, had an impressive .292/.371/.451 batting line and an .822 OPS over his first three full seasons in the big leagues. However, he hasn’t been the same player since missing most of the 2009 season with Valley Fever, posting an ugly .241/.320/.336 batting line and a .656 OPS over the past two seasons. He has also battled numerous injuries, including a banged up knee after the A’s traded him to the Red Sox prior to last year’s August waiver deadline.
Jackson bats right-handed, has solid plate discipline and can also play some first base, so most teams would likely jump at the chance if he’s willing to accept a minor-league deal. Though there’s nothing to suggest the Rays are legitimately interested, our own Matthew Pouliot mentioned them as a potential fit earlier this week.
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.