39th pick Anthony Ranaudo wants top-10 cash from Red Sox

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LSU junior Anthony Ranaudo entered this year as Baseball America‘s top-ranked college prospect, but the 6-foot-7 right-hander fell to the Red Sox with the 39th overall pick because of an elbow injury and major struggles once he returned.
Boston’s financial advantage allows them to take draft-day gambles on high-upside prospects like Ranaudo when other teams shy away based on the risk or above-slot bonus demands, and sure enough he’s asking for first-round money to sign.
In fact, LSU coach David Grewe told Amanda Comak of the Cape Cod Times that Ranaudo won’t sign unless he’s “treated and viewed as one of the top 10 picks in the draft … in terms of their financial commitment.” Grewe added that Ranaudo “wants to come back to LSU and prove that he can be that guy.”
It’s an interesting decision for Ranaudo, because the Red Sox would no doubt be willing to give him at least $1 million (and perhaps quite a bit more) to sign. For a 20-year-old pitcher coming off an injury wrecked season that sounds pretty good, but the flip side is that returning to LSU with a healthy, dominant performance next season would almost surely make him a top-five pick in line for a bonus closer to $5 million.
Do you take $1 million now and get a head start on your pro career while setting things up for a life after baseball if the elbow problems prove serious? Or do you pass up $1 million for a chance to make several times that at the risk of ending up with a blown out arm? It’s probably a moot point, because Ranaudo is represented by Scott Boras and he surely won’t be advising him to take the guaranteed cash now unless the Red Sox cave in with lots of “extra” money.

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.