Cuban free agent Jorge Soler wants all bids by Thursday

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Now that Cuban defector Jorge Soler has finally been declared a free agent his representatives have asked all interested teams to submit bids by this Thursday, according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago.

Levine reports that the price for Soler is expected to exceed $25 million and timing the bidding war for him during the same week as the MLB draft should make things very interesting, as the buzz on the 20-year-old outfielder is that he’d definitely be a top-10 pick if eligible for the draft and might have gone as high as the top three.

Why would Soler’s agents want the bidding to take place immediately and at the same time as the MLB draft? Well, for one thing they’ve already waited a long time for Soler to be declared a free agent. And perhaps most importantly he needs to sign by July 2 in order to avoid the new collective bargaining agreement’s revised rules on international prospect spending.

In other words, if he doesn’t sign within the next four weeks he can say goodbye to any thoughts of $25 million.

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.