Max Scherzer is “in play” on the trade market. WHAT?

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Jeff Passan has something that makes no sense to me:

 

The presumed reason why Prince Fielder and Doug Fister were traded was so the Tigers could afford extensions for Max Scherzer. At the very least the Fister trade was based on the assumption that the Tigers’ pitching staff was strong enough to weather his absence. Because, hey, you got Mac Scherzer there.

Not that trading Scherzer while he’s at his most valuable is a bad move in a vacuum. He’s unlikely to ever be as good as he was in 2013 again and he is going to get expensive.

But if you’re thinking of trading him, why lose Fister first? That just seems nutty to me.

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.