Either Tim Hudson is telling different things to different people, or else yesterday’s report that he’s rejecting his half of the mutual option was bogus. This from Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who says that he was told the following by Hudson himself:
a. He has made it clear – which he did again – that he wants to stay here and will accept a “hometown discount” to stay with the Braves (long as his idea of such a discount isn’t entirely different than what the Braves have in mind); b. He wasn’t under the impression the Braves were or are planning to exercise that $12 million option anyway, so why would he have told someone that they are and that he’s gonna veto it?, and c. Even if they do exercise the option, he’s not sure he’d veto it.
None of that necessarily means that Hudson won’t leave town. He still will likely talk to the Braves about multiple years instead of the option, which doesn’t seem to be in either his or the Braves’ interests. He likewise gave himself an out by noting that “hometown discount” does not mean “bargain basement.” But the overall impression from these statements is that he wants to stay in Atlanta.
Maybe the most interesting thing in the article is O’Brien saying that a three year deal running between nine and ten million a year would get a deal done. That seems low to me, and maybe counterproductive for Hudson. If he’d take that, it means he really wants to stay in Atlanta. But it’s a reasonable enough deal that Hudson would be an attractive trading chit in the event of anything other than strong contention by the Braves over that time, thereby increasing the odds that he’d, you know, not stay in Atlanta. Hudson knows that, I’m sure, so he’d ask for a no-trade clause. Which the Braves have a team policy against offering. All of that makes for a tricky negotiation.
But obviously, if a team wants a player and a player wants a team, it’s much better to start off talking reasonable dollars rather than unreasonable dollars, and if O’Brien is right, that’s what’s happening here.
My guess: there will be a lot of back and forth on this over the next couple of months but, ultimately, Hudson will be in a Braves’ uniform next season.
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.
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.