Twins have competition for Scott Baker from Red Sox, Rangers, Cubs, Blue Jays

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Minnesota declined its $9.25 million option on Scott Baker amid reports that the two sides were working on a new deal for a lesser salary, but the Twins have some competition for the 31-year-old right-hander coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, and Rangers have all expressed interest in Baker, who threw 135 innings with a 3.14 ERA in 2011 and has consistently been among the leaders in strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Declining his $9.25 million option was a no-brainer for the Twins, but he’s been a solid enough mid-rotation starter in the past that a multi-year deal–probably built around incentives–could be attainable.

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.