Giants shore up infield with Pirates' Sanchez

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Giants acquire 2B Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates for RHP Tim Alderson
The price was quite a bit higher than expected, though I think Alderson’s rep is a bit overblown. The Pirates still did far better here than the Diamondbacks did in the Felipe Lopez trade.
Sanchez fills a big need for the Giants, who had tried Emmanuel Burriss, Kevin Frandsen, Matt Downs, Juan Uribe and Eugenio Velez at second base. He doesn’t offer a whole lot besides the .300 average, but he’s a nice No. 2 hitter and a steady defender. I don’t like the idea of paying him $8.1 million next year, but that’s what he’ll earn if his vesting option kicks in with 600 plate appearances. He’s at 382 right now, so he’s on pace to top that total.
The Giants should be looking at a lineup of:
RF Randy Winn
2B Sanchez
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Bengie Molina
CF Aaron Rowand
1B Ryan Garko/Travis Ishikawa
SS Edgar Renteria
LF Nate Schierholtz
Fred Lewis, Andres Torres and Velez will keep helping out in the outfield with Rowand and Schierholtz hurt.
It’s the still the weakest lineup of any NL contender, but there are no longer any major holes.
In Alderson, the Pirates are getting a 20-year-old right-hander who was 6-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts since moving up to Double-A Connecticut. For the year, he’s allowed 107 hits, walked 17 and struck out 66 in 98 2/3 innings. He has a strikeout curve that he’ll probably use more in the majors. His fastball is just average for a right-hander, and his changeup needs work. That the Giants have had him focusing on the change more frequently has taken a toll on his numbers this year, but could pay off in the end. He should debut sometime next summer. My guess is that he’ll be a No. 4 starter, but he could turn into something more with an improved change.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.