Jeter error

What they’re saying about Jeter’s Gold Glove

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I haven’t seen an award decision that had such uniformity of negative opinion about it since Jethro Tull beat Metallica for Best Heavy Metal Performance Grammy in 1988. Or maybe it was Taste of Honey beating Elvis Costello for Best New Artist in 1978.  To be honest, we should probably rename the Gold Glove the Fielding Grammy Award:

  • Moshe Mandel, TYU: “Jeter’s selection, on the other hand, is a travesty. He was likely one of the 2 or 3 worst shortstops in the AL this season. The metrics, scouts, and most fans agree that he is mediocre at best, and atrocious at worst. He won because of his reputation as a hitter, which is incredibly silly but quite unsurprising. As a Yankee fan, I wish we could just forget it ever happened.”
  • David Brown, Big League Stew: “The worst shortstop in the league won a Gold Glove at the most important defensive position on the field. How does this happen?”
  • Rob Neyer: “Nobody who really follows baseball believes that Jeter is an outstanding defensive player. The Yankees, who see him every day, don’t believe that. The writers who cover the Yankees every day don’t believe that. Frankly, I’m not sure the managers and the coaches who actually voted for Jeter believe that.”
  • Matthew Leach, MLB.com: “Gold Gloves are like Supreme Court appointments: They’re hard to get, but once you have them, they’re for life.”
  • John Harper, New York Daily News: “If you watched the ALCS even casually it wasn’t hard to see that Derek Jeter looked closer to 46 than 36 compared to Elvis Andrus as a shortstop . . . it’s obvious he didn’t deserve the Gold Glove he was awarded Tuesday.” [note: if even the tabloids aren’t drinking the Jeter Kool Aid anymore, no one is].
  • Grant at McCovey Chronicles: “The Gold Gloves are ridiculous. They’re the subjective opinions of people who would rather use astrology charts than defensive stats to judge players they watched for seven to 18 games this year.” [note: that doesn’t stop Grant from wishing hard for Andres Torres to win the GG today. Such is the nature of this maddening but never-to-be-gone award. I think it’s because the name is so great].

Me? I’m still reeling. Say what you want about the BBWAA, but at least the guys who vote on those awards usually defend their choices and have some arguably rational basis for them. The players and coaches who gave Jeter his fifth — fifth! — Gold Glove won’t and can’t do the same. They don’t watch Jeter play every day because they’re busy with their own games. The people who do watch him play every day — Yankees beat writers and fans — almost all agree that he didn’t deserve the award.

Just remember that the next time an ex-ballplayer or manager gets a job as a cable network talking head based on his alleged expertise.

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.