Diamondbacks all but certain to exercise J.J. Putz’s option

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During an online chat with Diamondbacks fans yesterday team president Derrick Hall answered a question about closer J.J. Putz by saying that “it is hard to imagine us not” exercising his $6.5 million option for 2013.

Arizona has the choice of buying out Putz for $1.5 million instead, but he was as effective as ever with a 2.82 ERA and 65/11 K/BB ratio in 54 innings.

Putz has a lengthy injury history and at age 36 giving him a long-term deal would be very risky, but for a one-year commitment at a reasonable price it should be pretty close to a no-brainer for the Diamondbacks.

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.