Rockies may look to trade for Rays starter James Shields

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Colorado is hoping to re-sign free agent left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, but if his demands prove out of their price range Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies will look to trade for Rays right-hander James Shields.

Many teams would be smart to target Shields, because he pitched much better than his ERA suggests this season with secondary numbers (strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate) that show an overall performance closer to a 4.00 ERA than his actual 5.18 mark.

However, the Rockies may be one of the few teams that shouldn’t be in the mix for the 28-year-old starter. Shields’ biggest weakness is that he’s an extreme fly-ball pitcher, posting one of the 10 highest fly-ball rates in the league during the past three seasons and leading the league in homers allowed this year. Moving from the AL to the NL might help cut down on the homers, but calling Coors Field home for half his starts would just be a bad idea.

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.