A Pirates-Twins trade happened today

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Nothing particularly grand. And half of it was just one guy going back to the team he was with back in September anyway.

The trade: the Twins acquired lefty Kris Johnson from the Pirates in exchange for righty Duke Welker. Welker was with the Pirates before and went to Minnesota in the Justin Morneau deal. Now he’s back with the team who drafted him. Johnson is 29 and just got his first cup of coffee this past season, but he posted a 2.39 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 94/43 K/BB ratio across in 135.2 innings at Triple-A. Of course it was his fifth go-around in Triple-A, so don’t get terribly excited.

Anyway: a minor trade of (mostly) minor league arms isn’t huge, but it’s better than nothing nine days before Thanksgiving, when the hot stove is usually at its coldest.

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.