Gammons and Edes on the Red Sox' plans

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There aren’t many people who know the Red Sox front office better than Peter Gammons and Gordon Edes do, and this morning they provide their views as to what that front office is going to do this offseason. Their thinking:

  • They both think that Jason Bay will stay in Boston, mostly because the Mets don’t have the cash to beat a Boston offer and none of the other potential suitors — the Giants, Mariners, Angels or maybe the Cardinals — don’t really work for a number of reasons. I agree. Bay has a pretty comfortable job in Boston. Anywhere else he goes his defense will be a bigger issue than it is in Fenway. I think he stays.
  • Despite declining Alex Gonzalez’s option, he’ll stay around too, yielding to Jed Lowrie if Lowrie proves that he can stay healthy, and generally providing some insurance for a position that always seems to be unsure in Boston.  My view: not sure there are any better options out there. Omar Vizquel maybe? Either way, cover it with a glove and wait for Jose Iglesias to mature.
  • Forget the Adrian Gonzalez speculation. Jed Hoyer knows who the best Sox prospects are. The Sox don’t want to trade their best prospects. They just don’t match up. It’s way more likely that the Sox will convince the Blue Jays that their second tier prospects are really top shelf guys and pry away Roy Halladay.  My view: there’s too much risk with a Sox-Padres trade right now. Whoever loses the trade is going to be accused by talk radio and the local papers of giving a gift to their buddy, and no one likes that kind of garbage.
  • The Sox are going into 2010 banking on a rebound by David Ortiz, a healthy Mike Lowell, and having Victor Martinez around all season. My view: they are about 33% likely to realize an overall offensive improvement from that strategy.  Could be a tough year on offense for Boston.
  • They’re likely to once again explore the high-risk, high-reward scrap heap for some pitching depth, with Gammons and Edes both mentioning Ben Sheets and Rich Harden.  Actually, Edes calls this “low-risk, high reward.” That makes no sense to me. Maybe it’s “low money,” but anytime you commit a roster spot to a guy and exclude other possibilities, you create at least some risk.  If you use that roster spot on guys with injury histories like Sheets and Harden, you’re creating high risk.  One would think that the Smotlz-Penny experience of last season would have hipped Edes to this.

Right now the odds favor a stand-pat kind of offseason for Boston. Which, given the relative dearth of high-quality free agents and trade bait, is probably the most prudent move.  There’s no shame in playing for the Wild Card Red Sox fans.

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.