USA Today has compiled the Opening Day payrolls for all 30 teams and to the surprise of no one the Yankees lead the way by a wide margin, as their $202 million payroll is $30 million higher than the second-ranked Phillies and $40 million more than the next-closest AL team, the Red Sox.
Those three teams have the only payrolls above $150 million, but at the opposite end of the spectrum the Royals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Indians, and Padres are each under $50 million in total salaries.
MLB’s lowest payroll belongs to the Royals at $36 million, which is just 18 percent of the Yankees’ total and only slightly more than the $31 million New York will be paying Alex Rodriguez alone this season. The average Royals player makes $1.3 million, while the average Yankees player makes $6.8 million.
Add it all up and the average Opening Day payroll is $92.8 million. To put that into some context, consider that in 2000 the Yankees had MLB’s highest payroll at $92.9 million.
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.
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.