CEO says Padres will increase payroll to at least $50 million in 2012

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Padres chief executive officer Jeff Moorad said yesterday that the team’s payroll will rise to at least $50 million in 2012, adding that “our long-term goal is to operate at $70 million.”

That would be a big raise over this season’s $45 million payroll, but even $70 million would rank just 20th among all MLB teams this season and figures to rank even lower by the time the Padres actually reach that figure.

Much of that increase will come from the team’s new television contract, which goes into effect next season, but Moorad explained that the Padres don’t plan to be significant players in the free agent market because “we’re going to run an efficient business on and off the field.”

All of which makes it seem pretty unlikely that they’d commit to Heath Bell on a long-term contract unless the impending free agent gave them a sizable hometown discount after making $7.5 million this year.

Report: Momentum in talks between Mariners, Jon Jay

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that there is some momentum in talks between the Mariners and free agent outfielder Jon Jay.

Jay, 32, hit .296/.374/.375 in 433 plate appearances with the Cubs last season, which is adequate. He’s heralded more for his defense and his ability to play all three outfield spots.

The Mariners are losing center fielder Jarrod Dyson to free agency and likely don’t want to rely on Guillermo Heredia next season, hence the interest in Jay. The free agent class for center fielders is otherwise relatively weak.