MLB.com’s Corey Brock does a Q&A — apparently with himself, about the state of the Padres. The most interesting one comes when he asks “what kind of player” new GM Jed Hoyer wants to bring to San Diego. The answer Brock gives, presumably based on conversations he’s had with Padre people:
There’s not one type of player Hoyer likes or covets, though he has
talked about finding players who fit this ballpark, PETCO Park. After
all, the Padres do play 81 games here. That player is an athletic one,
has doubles-power, someone who can run … if it’s an outfielder,
someone who can go get a ball, someone who won’t clog the bases.
Granted, you need thumpers in the lineup, but ones who are undeterred
by the spacious dimensions of the ballpark.
This seems a bit strange to me. I mean, it’s not just teams who play in big ballparks who should want good defensive outfielders. Everyone should want them. By the same token, teams that play in big ballparks shouldn’t be eschewing home run hitters. You’re not going to completely give up on home runs, are you? You gotta play in Los Angeles too, right?
Based on everything we know about how the Boston front office thinks, and based on Hoyer’s apprenticeship in the Boston front office, I’d be shocked if he would actually say that he was looking for something specific like a doubles hitter. If he were really asked what kind of players he wants, wouldn’t his answer be “good players. The best players we can find that we can afford.” Maybe they do fit that specific profile. But maybe they don’t, and if they don’t, he’s not going to turn them away.
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.