The Roberto Clemente Award Nominees have been announced

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The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the Major Leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” Clayton Kershaw won it last year.  The 2013 nominees — one per team — were just announced and are listed below.

And now my annual complaint, albeit a minor one: Baseball has set up a fan voting aspect to this. Which makes no sense because (a) I can see no way which your average fan can gauge a player’s community involvement, either quantitatively or qualitatively; and (b) if they can’t, it’s just a fan popularity vote, which shouldn’t be a part of an award that is about something like community involvement. OK, I’m done with that. UPDATE: I’m told that fan voting is only 1/18 of the overall criteria for the award. With it weighing that lightly, my complaint should be taken just as lightly.

The nominees:

Arizona Diamondbacks – Aaron Hill
Atlanta Braves – Tim Hudson
Baltimore Orioles – Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox – Craig Breslow
Chicago Cubs – Anthony Rizzo
Chicago White Sox – Hector Santiago
Cincinnati Reds – Bronson Arroyo
Cleveland Indians – Justin Masterson
Colorado Rockies – Todd Helton
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera
Houston Astros – Jose Altuve
Kansas City Royals – Billy Butler
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Jered Weaver
Los Angeles Dodgers – Adrian Gonzalez
Miami Marlins – Logan Morrison
Milwaukee Brewers – Jonathan Lucroy
Minnesota Twins – Justin Morneau
New York Mets – David Wright
New York Yankees – David Robertson
Oakland Athletics – Sean Doolittle
Philadelphia Phillies – Chase Utley
Pittsburgh Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
St. Louis Cardinals – Carlos Beltran
San Diego Padres – Mark Kotsay
San Francisco Giants – Barry Zito
Seattle Mariners – Raul Ibañez
Tampa Bay Rays – David Price
Texas Rangers – Ian Kinsler
Toronto Blue Jays – J.P. Arencibia
Washington Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman

Justin Morneau was obviously nominated while still with the Twins.

The winner will be announced during the World Series.

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.