I’m pretty sure Derek Jeter woulda been a Hall of Famer even without the intangibles

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Howard Bryant’s latest ESPN column considers Derek Jeter. It starts thusly:

THE MAGIC OF baseball will always live in the storytelling

Pretty lucky for Bryant, given that he’s a storyteller! Anyway:

— the grandeur of Ruth, the Midwestern identification with Musial, the unbreakable Robinson and the complex defiance and moral ambiguity of Bonds. It’s what gives life to the statistics. Unfortunately, in the age of Moneyball and fantasy leagues, the numbers have been detached from, and become more important than, the players. All but one.

Know what? I still think the players are the most important thing in baseball. We could all stop playing fantasy baseball and reading sabermetric articles and, heck, even keeping statistics, and I bet there would still be major league baseball games with millions of people attending. Indeed, I’m almost positive this is true.

But even with that aside, I’m just not buying any of what Bryant is selling. Which is, in short that “Jeter’s intangibles and leadership are what make him a Hall of Famer,” to quote the little caption under the graphic on top.

Yes, there are great stories about Derek Jeter. But there are great stories about Joe Charboneau too. Yes, Jeter apparently has some great intangibles. But he also happens to have some AMAZING FREAKING TANGIBLES.

If no one ever wrote a single word about Jeter that didn’t appear in a game story, he’d be a Hall of Famer. That’s because he’s one of the best shortstops who ever lived and has multiple World Series rings. Those things are tangible.

I’ve never understood the desire for so many to engage in Derek Jeter mythmaking. The reality is so awesome already.  Why don’t we make myths about Nick Punto? That guy could use some help!

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.