Based on today’s report from MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, it’s pretty clear that the Braves are going to make one more move before the trade deadline, in all likelihood for an outfielder:
When McLouth was sidelined on June 9 with a concussion, he was hitting
just .176 with a .295 on-base percentage. In the seven rehab games he
played for Triple-A Gwinnett, the former All-Star outfielder recorded
eight hits (seven singles and one homer) in 31 at-bats.
“I think we have to be open,” Wren said. “We still have to be in that
mode of evaluating and seeing what opportunities there are. At the same
time, we need to figure out what’s the biggest thing we need.
“I just don’t know yet. That’s not being evasive. I just think we need
to let this play out a little bit.”
As Wren narrows his focus on the trade market, he and his scouts are
evaluating players who could improve his club while playing either left
field or center field. Some of the players they have evaluated include
Kansas City’s David DeJesus, Florida’s Cody Ross, Milwaukee’s Corey Hart
and Washington’s Josh Willingham.
I can’t recall a contending team with an outfield as poor as Atlanta’s is right now, and that’s even if Nate McClouth comes back with some improvement over his pre-concussion performance. And as long the names Frank Wren is considering are limited to the likes of DeJesus, Ross, Hart and Willingham — and don’t include names like “Jose Guillen” — Atlanta has a good chance of upgrading the outfield at some point in the next few days.
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.