White Sox reportedly planning waiver claim on Manny Ramirez

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that “claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers would be nuts.” And now he’s reporting that the White Sox plan to place a waiver claim on Ramirez.
General manager Ken Williams and the White Sox were said to be interested in Ramirez prior to the July 31 trade deadline, so Chicago’s apparent willingness to take what now amounts to little more than a $4 million flier on the 38-year-old slugger certainly isn’t surprising. Or particularly crazy, despite what Rosenthal suggests.
Ramirez certainly isn’t the dominant offensive force he once was and has also been limited to just 62 games because of injuries, but if reasonably healthy he’s still a damn good bat. He’s hit .312/.404/.508 overall this season, which is good for a .912 OPS that ranks seventh among all MLB outfielders with at least 200 plate appearances.
Beyond that, the White Sox’s have a gaping hole at designated hitter caused by the misguided decision not to re-sign Jim Thome at manager Ozzie Guillen’s urging this offseason. Thome has been amazing for the Twins with a .269/.393/.583 mark that tops the measly .237/.308/.401 cumulative production from the White Sox’s designated hitters by 267 points of OPS.
Ramirez can’t get back the production and games lost by choosing to replace Thome with Mark Kotsay, but his still-powerful right-handed bat would fit very well into the White Sox’s lineup and by using him primarily at DH they could cross “defense” off the list of potential issues.
Of course, just because the White Sox are planning to place a waiver claim on Ramirez doesn’t mean a team in front of them won’t do the same, and even if Chicago ends up with the winning claim they’d still have to work out a deal for him unless the Dodgers are simply willing to give him away to save money.
As usual, Ken Williams has plenty of gamble in him.

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.