Last week it seemed like the Mets were about to do something wise and send Jennry Mejia down to the minors in order to allow him to revert back into a starting pitcher, thereby providing the promise of greater value to the organization one day. Then they backed up a little and said, no, we may just turn him into a starter at the major league level. Not as wise, but in the grand scheme of things I suppose that’s better than keeping him in the pen.
Forget any wisdom now, however, because they’re just gonna keep him in the pen after all:
“We’ve discussed him at length many times, as far as what’s right
for him, what’s right for the team . . . basically, [keeping him in the pen] was the plan all along. We felt that
Igarashi can handle the eighth, and we need someone to handle the
seventh and I wanted to see Mejia pitch in this environment.”
Says the New York Post: “The deciding factor, according to Manuel, was that Mejia has been much
more effective in short outings than long ones.” Which is true for just about every pitcher. Bullpens are full of guys who couldn’t cut it was starters for exactly this reason, so I’m not sure why it weighs so heavily in Mejia’s case.
This is shortsighted decision by a guy who to whom short term success is more important than the long term health of the organization. And that applies whether it was Omar Minaya or Jerry Manuel’s decision.
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.