Blue Jays expected to try for Carlos Quentin

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From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Blue Jays “are expected to be among the teams targeting” Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin around this year’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Quentin is batting .481 with a 1.734 OPS, five home runs and nine RBI in eight games since returning from the disabled list in late May, and would be a nice addition to just about any contending team.

Which is why Toronto won’t be alone in its pursuit.

Quentin, 29, is making $7.025 million this year. He’s scheduled to become a free agent this winter.

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.