David Lennon of Newsday has a report which could prove pretty significant: a change to the NPB-to-Major Leagues posting system in which U.S. teams bid on the right to negotiate with Japanese players coming to the United States.
As of now, the teams interested in negotiating submit sealed bids, one is selected and the player has to negotiate with them or else not come to the U.S. at all until he is posted in a subsequent year. Lennon reports, however, that the process could be changed to where the top three bids are selected and the player can choose which of the three teams to engage.
It’s not free agency, exactly, but it does give the player a bit more choice. And though it may cost the Japanese team which gets the posting fee a bit of money if the player chooses, say, the third highest bidder, it may make the player more likely to strike a deal and thus improve the odds that the Japanese team gets a posting fee at all.
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.