This ultra-active day on the hot stove continues.
According to beat writer Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies are “closing in on” a two-year contract with free agent first baseman Justin Morneau. No word yet on the financial terms.
Morneau struggled mightily throughout the 2013 season, batting .259 with a .741 OPS in 127 games with the Twins and then .260 with a .681 OPS in 25 games with the Pirates after a late-summer trade. The Rockies will hope that the 32-year-old can return to his old offensive form and serve as a productive replacement for Todd Helton, who retired at the end of the regular season. Michael Cuddyer will presumably stay in right field, where he played 113 games in 2013.
UPDATE, 10:53 p.m. ET: The two sides have officially agreed to terms, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Morneau’s two-year contract with the Rockies will be worth about $13 million total.
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.
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.