Angels likely to have payroll in $130-140 million range next season

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Some have speculated that the Angels could be a player for Jose Reyes or another high-profile free agent this winter, but if owner Arte Moreno can be believed, a big ticket item might not be in the cards.

According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Moreno said this afternoon that the Angels will likely have a payroll in the $130-140 range in 2012. The Angels had a team record $142 million payroll in 2011 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season.

The Angels already have around $100 million tied up in just nine players next season. Yes, Vernon Wells is the albatross that keeps on giving. Assuming they tender contracts to Jerome Williams, Kendrys Morales, Alberto Callaspo, Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick, they will be somewhere around $120 million. Unless new general manager Jerry Dipoto can get creative, that leaves little wiggle room for a major addition via free agency.

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.