Billy Butler doesn’t want to be traded, says Royals should pick up his $12.5 million option for 2015

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Billy Butler has been mentioned in multiple trade rumors recently, in part because he’s played poorly enough this season that picking up next year’s $12.5 million team option no longer seems like a no-brainer.

Today the 28-year-old designated hitter told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that he doesn’t want to be traded and he really hopes the Royals exercise that 2015 option to keep him around beyond this season.

Butler was once among the best young hitters in baseball, but his power never really developed past the 20-homer range. He suggested that the Royals should overlook his poor first half and consider his more impressive track record, but the problem is that his OPS has gone from .882 in 2012 to .787 in 2013 to .679 this year. For a guy with zero defensive value that simply doesn’t cut it, which is why the Royals are apparently open to trading him even if the likely return isn’t anything special.

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.