HBT Weekend Wrapup

1 Comment

I feel like I’ve been in the house too much lately. Indeed, I realized on Saturday morning that I hadn’t left the house once in the previous five days. I’m a hermit by nature, but this was extreme, so I made a point to go out into the world on Saturday, mix with people and generally act like a social human being.

I really enjoy interacting with people on the Internet, but it turns out that people are rather overrated in person. After some moderate socializing which kind of gave me the heebie jeebies, I ended up getting a yogurt and going to a book store and reading all three bound volumes of the Batman “Knightfall” series in those cushy chairs that seem to invite freeloaders like me.  I’m back in my fortified compound on the outskirts of town now, happy to retreat again into the little virtual reality I’ve created for myself, and happy to be catching up on what I missed during my ill-advised social adventure:

  • Jayson Werth expressed remorse for yelling at that fan who got in his way. Which, contrary to what some of you commenters were saying, doesn’t change the fact that the fan should have gotten the hell out of the way. The fan screwed up and Werth overreacted. These are not mutually-exclusive occurrences;
  • Dodgers’ reliever Ronald Bellisario is on the restricted list for a drug problem. He was originally referred to as suffering from “anxiety” issues. Many around baseball suspect that “anxiety” is trotted out as a cover for problems such as a player’s ineffectiveness. I hope using the term to cover for a drug problem is unique to Bellisario’s case.
  • HBT’s own Bob Harkins is in Anaheim this week, grokking the All-Star Game Zeitgeist. I just woke up and haven’t read his first post yet, but it has Erin Andrews and bacon listed in the headline, so it’s probably the best post in the history of the Internet.

In the absence of real baseball, I’ll be spending some time and some posts over the next couple of days trying to figure out what, exactly, the All-Star Game is all about these days, whether it means anything anymore and, frankly, whether it really ever did.

And if you think that no baseball means that there will be no “And That Happened” recaps to greet you when you wake up tomorrow, well, then you don’t know me very well, do you.

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)
Getty Images
1 Comment

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)
Getty Images
2 Comments

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.