Through three games the White Sox’s offense has scored 12 runs while batting .154, and manager Ozzie Guillen is already threatening changes after the lineup combined for 12 strikeouts last night:
When we built this club, I didn’t want people to strike out, and we did too much. If they continue to strike out like that, then we find another approach. With the ball club we have, we can’t be striking out like that. … And they can say whatever they want to say–good pitching, cold weather, whatever it is. Too many strikeouts.
When you talk about this ball club, we can’t have the luxury to strike out with people on base. I think this ball club, we have to put the ball more in play, make things happen. … I’ve seen so many strikeouts with people on base. I know it’s the third game of the season and I know it’s cold, but we had too many strikeouts.
Fair enough, Ozzie, but what do you think of all the strikeouts?
Certainly no manager likes it when his team strikes out a dozen times in one game–and particularly a manager who had one of the lowest strikeout rates in baseball when he was a player–but the White Sox had a total of just six strikeouts in the first two games, have the fourth-fewest strikeouts in the league overall this season, and are actually the only team in the league with more walks than strikeouts right now.
In other words, imagine how worked up Guillen will get if the White Sox actually do start striking out a lot. Incidentally, when Guillen and the White Sox won the World Series in 2005 they had the sixth-most strikeouts in the league.
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.