Orioles and Mariners have discussed trade for Tigers’ Rick Porcello

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The Tigers lost one potential suitor for Rick Porcello after the Angels acquired left-hander Jason Vargas from the Mariners yesterday, but the young right-hander is still drawing plenty of interest around the majors.

FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Mariners and Orioles are among the teams who have talked to the Tigers about a possible trade involving Porcello. Morosi reported earlier today that the Orioles are in talks with free agent left-hander Joe Saunders, so Porcello would represent an alternative track. If the Mariners don’t find a replacement for Vargas via trade or free agency, they could give Blake Beavan a rotation spot until one of their youngsters are ready.

Porcello, who turns 24 next week, owns a 4.55 ERA over his first four seasons in the majors. The 2007 first-round pick earned $3.1 million this past season while posting a 4.59 ERA and 107/44 K/BB ratio over 176 1/3 innings. He’s on track to get another raise in arbitration this winter and remains under team control through 2014.

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.