Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that the Red Sox are prepared to pick up David Ortiz’s $12 million 2011 extension. That according to “a major league source well acquainted with the Sox’s thinking.”
In other news, we probably need to have a summit meeting about the best way to label anonymous sources in this business, because “a major league source well acquainted with the Sox’s thinking” is kind of a mouthful.
Nothing wrong with such reporting, mind you. I don’t mean to impugn Edes at all because he’s a good reporter. Indeed, I pass things along from anonymous sources all the time myself. This is baseball, after all, not foreign policy reporting, and despite what people may tell you, there is nothing wrong with gossip. It’s just that when you dress gossip up with newsy descriptions such as “a major league source well acquainted with the Sox’s thinking” you sound, I dunno, a bit silly. Let’s strive to keep it casual, ya know? I digress.
Ortiz has had a pretty decent year, with early season fears that his career was deader than vaudeville proving to be overstatements. Still, I’d be wary of paying the guy $12 million when the going rate for a DH on the downside of his career is a seven figure proposition rather than eight. Maybe Boston is just scared to death at this point that they’ll never have healthy players again and want to be double damn sure they have the one big bat who has managed to stay in the lineup all year back for 2011.
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.