Earlier this week Reds president Bob Castellini said he “would like to see Dusty Baker as a member of our organization for many years to come.”
However, yesterday the impending free agent manager told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he hasn’t had any contract talks with the team since spring training.
Baker, who’s finishing up a two-year contract, said “it was nice to hear that [what Castellini said], but in meantime I’ve got work to do. The same work I had to do five months ago.”
Cincinnati has the second-best record in the league at 71-47, leading the NL Central by 6.0 games over Pittsburgh and 7.0 games over St. Louis after the Reds went just 79-83 last season.
Fay writes that Baker promised during the winter that he wouldn’t talk about his contract status during the season and has followed through for the most part, but also says “it’s clear that working as quasi-lame duck has put a bit of a chip on Baker’s shoulder.”
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.