Yankees acquire Chase Headley from Padres

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After more than a year of frequent trade rumors the Padres have finally dealt Chase Headley, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that they’re sending the 30-year-old impending free agent third baseman to the Yankees.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News says the Padres will receive infielder Yangervis Solarte and right-hander Rafael De Paula in exchange for Headley. Solarte was signed as a minor-league free agent and De Paula is a 23-year-old Single-A pitcher who’s not considered a top prospect (although he does have a big strikeout rate).

Two seasons ago Headley smacked 31 homers, led the league in RBIs, and finished fifth in the MVP balloting, but his production plummeted last season and this year he’s been mostly injured and ineffective while hitting ..229 with seven homers and a .651 OPS in 77 games. However, he’s shown some signs of life this month and given the minimal talent price tag the Yankees aren’t taking much of a risk in acquiring him when the in-house alternatives for them at third base were guys like Solarte and Zelous Wheeler.

San Diego missed an opportunity to cash in Headley for huge value following the 2012 season and now they’re simply getting a modest return for him instead of letting him walk for nothing as a free agent in three months. Keeping him and then making him a qualifying offer was another option for the Padres and would have fetched them a draft pick if he signed elsewhere, but clearly they didn’t want to risk Headley simply accepting a one-year, $14 million deal to return in 2015. New York is not eligible to make him a qualifying offer.

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.