According to the team’s official Twitter feed the White Sox have re-signed Omar Vizquel to a one-year contract and Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports that the deal is worth $1.75 million after the 43-year-old Vizquel earned $1.375 million this season from a one-year deal signed last November.
After getting a career-low 195 plate appearances as Elvis Andrus’ backup in Texas last season Vizquel logged 391 plate appearances this season for his most playing time since 2007.
He backed up Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, but also started 62 times at third base and 18 times at second base while hitting .276/.341/.331 to nearly duplicate his .273/.338/.354 career line.
Chicago will no doubt plan for Vizquel to have a lesser role in 2011, but as far as utility infielders go he combines a good clubhouse presence with strong defense and decent on-base skills, so $1.75 million isn’t a bad price.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.