David Ortiz “finalizing” two-year contract with Red Sox

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David Ortiz was optimistic about his chances of re-signing with the Red Sox and sure enough Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that the two sides are “finalizing” a two-year contract.

No word yet on the money involved, but a mulit-year deal is a win for Ortiz considering he’s a 36-year-old designated hitter coming off an Achilles’ tendon injury that cost him essentially the entire second half. He played last season on a one-year, $14.58 million deal and hit .318 with 23 homers and 26 doubles in 90 games for his first OPS above 1.000 since 2007.

According to Edes the Red Sox hope to announce the deal by the end of this week and Ortiz is “believed to be seeking” around $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.