In the wake of the Yankees doing the moonwalk from Johnny Damon and signing Randy Winn, Scott Boras is trying to spin, but he’s doing a bad job of it. First Boras:
“The Yankees never even made an offer to me regarding Johnny Damon
during the entire process, and the reason for that is they had
Um, Scott, that’s not what your client said last month:
Damon said in a text message Friday that the Yankees had offered two
years and $14 million, while he had offered to return for two years and
$20 million. That was true, a Yankees official confirmed.
Confronted with that inconsistency, Boras says “that it was not an offer, because the Yankees told him they needed to hear from Johnson first.”
Which smells like high-grade horse manure. I mean, really, why on Earth would the Yankees make a non-offer, or whatever Boras wants to call it, to Damon while they were still waiting to hear from Johnson? Damon thinks it was an offer. The Yankees think it was an offer. The only one who doesn’t think it was an offer is Boras, who right now is the one running for cover.
My suspicion is that what really happened was that (1) the Yankees offered Damon $14 million; (2) Boras rejected it and (3) the Yankees moved on to Nick Johnson, possibly telling Boras that they’d talk again if Johnson got away, but by no means holding some contingent whatever-it-was open in the interim. This seems to be borne out by Brian Cashman’s account: “On Dec. 17, Scott’s exact words were that he would not take a penny
less than $13 million a year for two years. We believed
him.” Nick Johnson signed on December 18th.
Rosenthal read today’s Times story and sums it up pretty succinctly: “There is simply no excuse for a player of this quality to be in such a compromised position.” I agree. That player was compromised by an agent’s spectacular failure to understand his client’s market.
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.