Jake Westbrook and Cardinals interested in working out deal

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Jake Westbrook told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he’d “definitely” be interested in re-signing with the Cardinals and general manager John Mozeliak said the team “obviously has interest” in retaining the impending free agent.

Sounds like a perfect match, right? Well …

Goold also reports that “the Cardinals reached out recently to Westbrook’s agents, though nothing substantive about re-signing Westbrook has been discussed.” Westbrook is in the final season of a three-year, $33 million deal signed with the Indians in 2007 and certainly sounds like someone planning to test the open market regardless of how much he enjoys St. Louis:

I’m definitely going to be open-minded about pretty much everything. If they had interest, I’ve definitely enjoyed my time here. I’ve gotten to know the guys well. The organization is definitely one that everybody knows about, that I’ve certainly heard a lot about, and now, firsthand, I’ve gotten to see that everybody was right.

I wanted to make every start and try to accumulate all of the innings I could, to try to get over that 200-inning threshold. I’m close. That was my goal. If you can make every start and get to that 200 innings or around it, that means you’re in a lot of ballgames, you’re giving your team a chance to win. I’ve been able to do that this year, and my arm feels great.

Eating innings and giving your team a chance to win is great, but when you’re a 33-year-old impending free agent who missed all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery showing that you’re healthy again is also pretty important. Westbrook and the Cardinals seem like a pretty good fit, but from his point of view there’s really no downside to seeing what free agency has to offer.

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.