Rays talking to Mariners about Nick Franklin

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Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported Monday that the Mets have been discussing a possible Nick Franklin trade with the Mariners since December’s Winter Meetings, but Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is now hearing from a source that the Rays are also in the Franklin hunt and “actually match up better” with Seattle’s current needs and wants.

Heyman notes that the Rays and Mariners haggled earlier this winter about a David Price deal, which never went through but left the clubs intimately familiar with each others’ minor league systems.

Franklin was a first-round pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft and got ranked a Top 100 prospect by both MLB.com and Baseball America last winter, but he is blocked in Seattle by Robinson Cano at second base and Brad Miller at shortstop. The M’s might as well see what he can fetch for the 22-year-old.

Rubin tweeted this Tuesday in response to Heyman’s report linking the Rays:

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.