Why Carlos Zambrano is still a free agent

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You can probably guess why Carlos Zambrano is still a free agent, but here’s the official word, via Nick Cafardo:

But his reputation as a bad guy in the clubhouse, coupled with his downward-trending performance, have kept teams away. “You’ve got to be up for what he brings,” said an NL GM. “Not saying the guy hasn’t been good in his career because he has, but when things go bad, he has a rap sheet that shows how he reacts, and that’s hard to overcome.”

Zambrano posted a 4.49 ERA with the Marlins last year after being acquired for Chris Volstad. His fortunes did not improve in the World Baseball Classic as he allowed two runs in 3.2 innings of work.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

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.