I catch a lot of hell for ripping the Mets, but I like to at least think that I have a reason for it when I do it. Compare this to Joel Sherman who — and I am not making this up — anchors this morning’s column accusing the Mets of “mismanaging” Ike Davis’ career on the fact that they flew him down to New York on an afternoon flight instead of a morning flight.
I think he’s going for a metaphor here or something, using the flight as a taking off point (see what I did there!) to criticize the Mets for not having Davis up with the big club from the start of the season. Which is a fair criticism — Davis certainly would have been a better choice than Mike Jacobs — but one that, on it’s own, constitutes a sentence or two, not a whole column. No, for that he needed to fill out with the flight thing. Lost in all of this is the fact that (a) the Mets won last night;
and (b) Ike Davis helped them win, somehow overcoming the debilitating
jet lag one gets when flying from Buffalo to LaGuardia.
The whole thing is couched as a complaint against Omar Minaya, by the way, with his name in the headline and picture in the column. But even if you take the criticism of the timing of Davis’ callup seriously, reading the column gives one the sense that the decision to do it was one that took signoff from others (i.e. a Wilpon or two) and wasn’t necessarily just Omar’s call, so ripping Minaya over it seems unfair.
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.