Marlins planning aggressive pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes

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The Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Nationals, Tigers and White Sox have all made it known that they plan to pursue Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes once he becomes eligible for major league free agency.

But those clubs may have to contend with a Miami front office that is willing to spend wildly.

According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Marlins president David Samson told 790 The Ticket on Thursday that his team is planning an “aggressive” pursuit of Cespedes when he hits the open market later this month. Here’s the full quote:

“Aggressive right to the point of stupidity, but not quite there,” said Samson. “We think he’s a perfect fit for us, but it has to be sane. [We’ve been] expressing interest, going to visit, making it very clear to his representatives and to him and his family that we think he should not be anywhere other than Miami. As a Cuban and someone in the DR, it makes perfect sense. We have a perfect position for him to play. It would be great.”

Cespedes, 26, batted .333/.424/.667 with 33 home runs and 99 RBI in 90 games last season in Cuba. With so many teams fawning over him, it’s possible that he lands a contract in the $50-60 million range.

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.