Mike Cameron on Michael Jordan

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Jordan baseball.jpgAlex Speier has a nice feature today on Mike Cameron remembering his days in the White Sox system with a fellow by the name of Jordan.  File this under stuff I never realized at the time:

Cameron could see that Jordan still loved [basketball], loved talking trash to their on-court opponents. That, combined with Major League Baseball’s
efforts to convince Jordan to be a replacement player the following
spring, when the game was still in gridlock as a result of the strike
that had cancelled the World Series, pushed His Airness back to the NBA in the spring of 1995.

“I think if the strike hadn’t taken place, basketball may have been rewritten and baseball may have been rewritten,” said Cameron. “When they had the strike, they
asked him to play the games. He said, ‘I’m in a union, too.’ And he
left.

It’s sometimes startling to recall how cynical and, let’s face it, plain stupid the Lords of Baseball were back in those dark days. I mean, their whole farkakte labor strategy was bad enough, but the fact that they actually thought that (a) Michael Jordan would cross a picket line; and (b) his fame, but complete lack of major league baseball skills, would save their replacement player gambit shows just how demented they were.

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.