If the Giants make a trade before Wednesday’s 4:00 p.m. EDT deadline, it’s probably going to include lefty specialist Javier Lopez. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, they’re not actively involved in any discussions regarding free agents-to-be Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum.
The Giants put a high price tag on Pence because they hope to re-sign him this winter. The 30-year-old right fielder is batting .277/.320/.455 with 14 homers and 51 RBI in 415 at-bats this year. If he were traded, it would have been the third straight year he was involved in a deadline deal; he was sent from Houston to Philadelphia in 2011 and from Philadelphia to San Francisco a year ago.
Unlike Pence, Lincecum has a good chance of clearing waivers, opening up the possibility for an August trade.
Lopez is being talked about as a possibility for Detroit or Cleveland. He’s perhaps the game’s best pure lefty specialist; left-handers have posted OPSs of .383, .500 and .422 against him the last three years. He also holds his own against righties, but the Giants have always been able to shy away from using him against them in key situations.
2:45 p.m. EDT update: The New York Post’s Joel Sherman is reporting that the Reds are also in on Lopez.
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.
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.