Cliff Lee has a no-trade clause that blocks 20 teams

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Cliff Lee is doing his usual thing, going 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 74/13 K/BB ratio in 12 starts, and with the Phillies stuck below .500 it’s natural to speculate about Philadelphia potentially trading the ace left-hander.

However, that may not be so easy. Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Lee’s contract has a no-trade clause covering 20 of the 29 other teams, including all the usual suspects like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers. In other words, he picked all the teams most likely to trade for him.

Of course, that doesn’t rule out a trade to those 20 teams, it just means Lee would have to be talked (or otherwise financially motivated) into accepting a deal. He’s also owed about $77.5 million for the next two-and-a-half seasons, so while Lee remains one of the elite starters in baseball his price tag could take some interested teams out of the running even before the Phillies’ asking price comes up.

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.