UPDATE: Clark Spencer snapped a picture of today’s remembrance ceremony for the Miami Herald. And here’s a recap of the day’s events.
12:02pm: ESPN’s Amy K. Nelson wrote a powerful piece this morning on Rockies president Keli McGregor, who died suddenly last week in a Salt Lake City hotel room. McGregor wasn’t often in the public eye as an executive of the Mountain Time Zone’s only baseball team, but he clearly had an impact on the lives of those that knew him.
Take a minute, or two, and learn a little about him and the way he affected the Rockies both on and off the field. He was a family man at heart, with four kids ranging from ages 11 to 19, but also gained the admiration of million-dollar athletes during his 17 years with the organization.
Veteran first baseman Todd Helton was asked to describe McGregor just 48 hours after the announcement of his untimely death. His response:
“That’s a tough one,” Helton said, quietly. “If you went around and asked
anybody in this room what kind of man you’d want to grow up and be, 99
percent would have said him. He’s the type of guy we all strive to be.”
The Rockies will honor McGregor this morning with a public service at Coors Field.
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.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.