Your annual "all hope is lost in the AL East" story

Leave a comment

It’s from Ken Rosenthal this year, who thinks that the rest of the AL East should “just give up.”  It’s less an argument than a rundown of the the deals the Red Sox and Yankees have made so far this offseason, and which Rosenthal thinks aren’t over yet (“I guarantee you, their outfield next season will not be
Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner”).

Look, I know it sucks really, really bad to be a fan of an AL East team that isn’t New York or Boston, but multiple people write this same article every year, and it’s a lazy exercise.

Lazy because it it ignores the fact that the Rays are a really, really good team from top to bottom. A team that, while they definitely underperformed last year, was in striking distance for a large part of the season.  A team whose fans certainly aren’t giving up.

Lazy because it assumes that Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are going to be effective forever. That Kevin Youkilis won’t take a little step back. That CC Sabathia or Jon Lester or anyone else won’t blow out his elbow.  I’m not suggesting that the Jays, Orioles and Rays need to pin their hopes on some disaster to win anything, but why is it so hard to analyze what actually happens in a given year as opposed to just assuming that what happened last year will happen next year?

The financial structure of the game is what it is, and for many fans, it’s depressing.  But if it’s so depressing that you “just give up” on following the games and rooting for your team, you may as not watch any baseball at all.

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)
Getty Images
5 Comments

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)
Getty Images
2 Comments

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.