A's and Reds swap unwanted Taveras and Miles

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ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports the A’s have acquired Willy Taveras and Adam Rosales from the Reds for Aaron Miles and a player to be named later or cash.
Miles went from Chicago to Oakland in the December trade for Jake Fox because the Cubs wanted to dump his $2.7 million salary, but he lasted all of two months with the A’s and has now been swapped for Tavaras and his $4 million salary.
Taveras lost his starting job to Drew Stubbs after batting .240/.275/.285 in 140 games last season to rank among the worst hitters in baseball. He still has plenty of speed and plays good defense, so unlike Miles he’s not totally useless. After five seasons in the minors Rosales finally got an extended look in the majors last year, but struggled and projects as little more than a solid bench player.
In other words, the A’s-Reds swap may contain the least combined value of any three-player trade of major leaguers in baseball history. Oakland “wins” in the same sense that someone trading a month-old turkey sandwich for a year-old ham sandwich is technically getting the better deal, but in the end you don’t want to eat any of it.
Mostly the trade makes me wonder what the A’s are doing, because they just got finished lessening the outfield logjam by trading Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Now they’re dealing for Taveras (although they may end up just releasing him) and are reportedly close to signing Gabe Gross, which would leave the following outfielders to sort through:
Coco Crisp
Rajai Davis
Ryan Sweeney
Travis Buck
Jack Cust
Willy Taveras
Gabe Gross
Eric Patterson
Cust will be primarily a designated hitter, but that’s still an awful lot of bodies for three spots and most of them have similar skill sets. Which is to say they run fast, play good defense, and can’t really hit. If the A’s use Cust at DH and Crisp in center field they could form a pair of lefty-righty platoons with Sweeney-Davis and Gross-Taveras, but that would a) devote six roster spots to the outfield, b) still leave Buck and perhaps Patterson at Triple-A, and c) be horrible offensively.
One of the most-quoted lines in Moneyball comes when a scout questions a player’s physique and general manager Billy Beane defiantly responds: “We’re not selling jeans here.” However, after looking at that list of outfielders it’s tough not to conclude that Oakland is now very much in the denim business.
UPDATE: Taveras won’t be doing any modeling for the A’s, denim or otherwise. They’ve already designated him for assignment.

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)
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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)
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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.