Cafardo on Sheffield, Lackey, Lowell and more

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sheffield.jpgNick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is back with his latest batch of Hot Stove goodies. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the more interesting tidbits:



– Gary Sheffield isn’t done. The 41-year-old slugger wants to return for his 23rd season and he has 3,000 hits on his mind.



“After talking to my wife and kids,” said Sheffield, “they want me to
get 3,000 hits [he’s at 2,689]. I want to keep playing, and I know I
can go out and hit at least 25 and maybe up to 40 home runs for some
team if I get the chance.”




So, Sheffield is currently 311 hits
away from 3,000. If we combine his last three seasons, including a very
productive 2009, Sheffield only has 299. Let’s just say the odds are
stacked heavily against him.




Representing himself, Sheffield
hasn’t heard from any teams just yet, however he said he would be open
to being a designated hitter while playing the field a couple of times
a week. Anybody who watched the Mets last season can’t help but
snicker.




– Cafardo speculates that if the Red
Sox sign John Lackey they could use Clay Buchholz as a chip in a
potential deal for Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera. Under this
scenario, the Red Sox would sign an additional starter like Ben Sheets
as insurance for the rotation. Cafardo quotes an American League
general manager who says Casey Kotchman or Jed Lowrie could be valuable
to other teams in a possible trade this offseason.




– The Red Sox are one of at least a
dozen teams to inquire about reliever Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez, 31, has
had arm and elbow issues in the past, however Boston hasn’t examined
his medical records as of yet.




– Mike Lowell could be asked to play
some first base if his hip doesn’t improve enough to play third base
regularly. According to Cafardo, the idea has been discussed internally.




– J.D. Drew underwent surgery on his
left shoulder last week to repair inflammation he suffered with during
the second half of the season. According to Cafardo, he should be ready
for the start of spring training.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.