Rockies trade Dexter Fowler to Astros for Jordan Lyles

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Trade rumors have been swirling around Dexter Fowler for a while now and the Rockies have sent the center fielder to the Astros in exchange for right-hander Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes.

Fowler is 27 years old with two seasons remaining before free agency and the Astros’ payroll is so low that the fact he’s getting expensive probably doesn’t matter to them. His lack of production away from Coors Field is a more important issue, because for his career Fowler has hit just .241 with a .694 OPS on the road compared to .298 with an .880 OPS in Colorado.

Lyles gives the Rockies a potential mid-rotation starter long term, although the former first-round pick struggled through age 22 with a 5.35 ERA in 377 innings. Barnes is little more than a backup outfielder and hit just .240 with a .635 OPS and horrible plate discipline in the first extended action of his career this year at age 27, but he gives the Rockies a possible center field fill-in if they decide not to shift Carlos Gonzalez from a corner spot.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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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.

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.