Though never considered a front runner, the Angels had been rumored at various times in the past few weeks to be in on re-signing John Lackey or trading for Roy Halladay. The point was that they want and need a starting pitcher. Now that those guys are off the table, they are turning to plan B. Wait — I watched him pitch a lot last year; let’s call him plan C, D or E. Rosenthal and Morosi:
The agreement comes at a difficult time for the Angels, who are
looking for a top-of-the-rotation starter such as Halladay or Lee . . . As the
blockbuster nears completion, the Braves are an interested bystander.
The Angels now appear to be among the favorites to acquire Derek Lowe.
They could offer outfielder Juan Rivera, who is the type of
right-handed run producer that Atlanta is seeking.
On the one hand “they could offer . . .” is really weak as far as reports go. The Royals could offer them Zack Greinke. Heck, I could offer them my services as a starter too. It’s about as hypothetical as it comes.
But then you remember that Rosenthal was the one floating the allegedly hypothetical Phillies-trade-Lee-and-get-Halladay story over the weekend. The one that no one believed and which seemingly had nothing to it until the exact moment it did. Maybe I’m reaching — I do want to see my Braves unload Derek Lowe, and Juan Rivera could be useful to them — but, like the Lee thing, there could be more to this than meets the eye.
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.