The Yankees designate Cody Ransom for assignment

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In the first couple of weeks of the season there were a few rogue writers out there who suggested — based on the steroids stuff and the Selena Roberts book more than anything else — that the Yankees were better off without Alex Rodriguez, and that a scrappy and clean young man like Cody Ransom would do just fine, thank you. I’m guessing no one will own up to that commentary now:

Given the versatility of the newly acquired Jerry Hairston Jr., it seemed unlikely that the Yankees would have room for backup infielder Cody Ransom much longer. And so the team did the inevitable on Wednesday, designating Ransom for assignment and replacing him with a fresh arm for the bullpen, right-hander Anthony Claggett . . . Designating Ransom may have been an obvious decision, but it was not an easy one for the Yankees. Though he struggled at times, Ransom nonetheless bailed the Yankees out of a tough spot when starting third baseman Alex Rodriguez had surgery on his right hip this spring, allowing Ransom to take over the starting job and hold it as best he could.

“As best he could” amounted to hitting .190/.256/.329, which wouldn’t cut it for a utility infielder in the mid-60s. So, while he didn’t tip off the signs to the other team, do steroids, make hundreds of millions of dollars, kill sportswriters’ puppies, break up marriages, and otherwise serve as history’s greatest monster, he was no real replacement, or even a real backup, for A-Rod.

Reds acquire Tanner Roark from Nationals

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The Reds announced on Wednesday evening that the club acquired starter Tanner Roark from the Nationals in exchange for pitcher Tanner Rainey.

Roark, 32, is entering his third of three years of arbitration eligibility, so this is essentially a rental for the Reds. This past season, Roark posted a 4.34 ERA with 146 strikeouts and 50 walks over 180 1/3 innings. He had a career year in 2016, finishing with a 2.83 ERA, but hasn’t been able to replicate it in the two years since.

Rainey, 25, accrued just seven innings in the majors last season, yielding 19 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and 12 walks with seven strikeouts. He spent most of his year with Triple-A Louisville where his numbers were much better: he had a 2.65 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 35 walks in 51 innings of relief.

The Reds have been in the mix in a lot of rumors during the winter meetings, so it’s not a surprise to see them make a splash. The club is trying to improve on last year’s dismal 67-95 finish.