I was being facetious when I said earlier this afternoon that Mark McGwire simply needs to talk about the past in order to get into the Hall of Fame. Bob Ryan is serious:
If he ever holds a press conference in his new gig as batting coach of
the Cardinals, and if he answers the questions, he could probably punch
his ticket. I know many of you hate it when people like me say or write
something like this, but that’s the way I feel.
Though I disagree, I get not voting for McGwire because he used PEDs. Though I disagree, I can even see voting against him because he wasn’t forthcoming before Congress. But neither of those things can be cured, can they? No matter how much he talks now, he still used PEDs and still failed to be forthcoming before Congress, didn’t he? How on Earth does giving quotes to Bob Ryan and some other writers around a batting cage fix that?
Has the case against McGwire always been merely that he wouldn’t cater to the press and give juicy quotes about his past? Was it not about cheating and being uncooperative in front of the House of Effing Representatives? If not, aren’t the writers who agree with Ryan — the ones who would change their votes merely because McGwire gave a press conference — saying that they’re more important than the rules of baseball and The United States Congress?
If McGwire’s behavior sours you on his Hall of Fame candidacy, it seems totally unreasonable to change your mind simply because he talks into your Dictaphone down in Flordia this March.
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.