Steve Garvey and a billion others line up to bid on the Dodgers

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ESPN Los Angeles is reporting that former Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey is preparing to put in a bid for the team in the upcoming bankruptcy auction which will finally wrest control of the team from the clutches of Frank McCourt.

Garvey went on record last February with his interest in buying the team.  Of course back then the team wasn’t for sale and Garvey was a team employee, so his ambitions got him fired.

As I said back then, one has to wonder whether a motivational speaker/informercial king/VIP greeter/paternity suit magnet like Garvey who, by some reports, has had personal financial difficulties of his own over the years is really someone who can rope together a billion bucks from investors. But this being an auction, Garvey’s financial bona fides will be checked beforehand and his group approved by Major League Baseball before he’s allowed to bid.

There appear to be no shortage of other groups trying to get a bid together. Former owner Peter O’Malley said he is.  Mark Cuban may.  Former agent Dennis Gilbert, who was in pursuit for the Rangers last year, may also be interested.  And of course there are always heavily-moneyed people you’ve never heard of who show up on the scene in such instances.

The kicker to all of this: if the bidding does get hot and heavy and the price goes up, Frank McCourt may actually walk away from this thing with a lot of dough even after he pays off his copious debts.  Which would push me that much closer to simply becoming a nihilist.

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.