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.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.