No, A-Rod doesn’t say anything about us as a culture

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On the one hand I like it when baseball stories break into the mainstream. You want more people talking about and thinking about baseball, right? It’s a good thing.

But then when it actually happens you end up with stuff like this:

… there are a lot more important things to think about than the trials and tribulations of professional sports figures. But the case of A-Rod opens a window to give us a view of where we are—and where we need to be going—as a culture.

See, no matter how much I love his game, how anyone can look at A-Rod and say anything meaningful about where we are as a culture is beyond me. He was an athletic freak from the youngest of ages, held separate and apart — and usually above — normal people. From the time he hit the bigs he has been elevated even higher. And he has done so on a pile of money most of us could never fathom.

I don’t know what makes that guy tick or whether he’s a narcissist or any other number of things he’s been called. But boy howdy I’m not sure how he, of all people, can tell us where “we” are as a culture, let alone where we need to be going.

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.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.