Thank you Buster Olney

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Finally, a columnist who isn’t buying into conspiracy theories.

Buster Olney details A-Rod’s struggles — his baseball struggles — notes the exceedingly poor matchups in play between the zombie A-Rod and the Tigers’ power righties, and puts lie to the notion that the reason Rodriguez is on the bench is because of silly tabloid nonsense:

Does anyone think that the Yankees decision-makers, from Girardi to general manager Brian Cashman, love every player they’ve inserted into their lineup through the years?  No. Have they used productive players they couldn’t stand personally (like the way Joe Torre kept giving the David Wells the ball)? Absolutely.

Hell, if the Yankees thought the 86-year-old Fidel Castro could throw 120 mph and help the Yankees win the 2012 title, they’d pitch him.

Perhaps this can be explained by the fact that Olney is a national writer so he doesn’t spend all fall and winter filling column inches with “A-Rod is history’s greatest monster” stories. But the fact that it happens to be the most logical and straightforward explanation for all of this is an added benefit.

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.