Why the Giants passed on Brian Wilson

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On Tuesday, we learned that the Dodgers and Brian Wilson agreed on a Major League contract. The former Giants closer is fully recovered from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, required after succumbing to injury in his second appearance of the 2012 season. Current Giants closer Sergio Romo, normally solid, had a horrendous July, posting a 5.63 ERA in nine appearances — and it continued last night as he magically escaped a bases loaded, no out jam against the Phillies unscathed. The Giants were one of several teams interested in obtaining Wilson’s services over the final two months of the season, but backed off after internal discussions.

Via CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly:

Upper management recognized the value that Wilson had both as an attraction and an endearing figure in franchise history. Others in the organization were put off by Wilson’s antics and the fact he showed up all of the sudden down the stretch, cavorting around the dugout just when all the national cameras showed up.

But ultimately, CEO Larry Baer told Sabean to make a baseball decision. And part of a baseball decision is making sure you have a healthy and cohesive clubhouse.

Wilson’s antics are harmless when the team is winning because everyone is happy. When the team is losing, as the Giants are, Wilson’s antics can become irritating and distracting. The Phillies are another great example of this, as GM Ruben Amaro scolded Cliff Lee for pranking his teammates when they participated in live in-game interviews. Lee has always been known to do that, and it was acceptable behavior because the team was a perennial powerhouse in the league. Now that they are a sub-.500 club, the jokes don’t seem as funny.

The Dodgers are a great landing spot for Wilson. They’re in first place, have had a ton of media attention on a handful of players (particularly Yasiel Puig), and have a legitimate need for another reliable arm in the bullpen. Can’t blame the Giants for passing on him, and you can’t blame the Dodgers for snapping him 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.