Multiple sources are saying that the Dodgers are taking a hard look at infielder Juan Uribe.
I like Uribe and I like that the Dodgers would look at trying to take away a key part of the Giants’ 2010 success. Some nice in-your-face value to it, ya know?
At the same time, I think Uribe may be the overpay of the offseason. He’s got pop, yes, and after having watched him in the playoffs I’m higher on his defense than I had been previously. But he still has some suspect on-base abilities, posting a .300+ OBP twice in the past five years. Yes, it was the last two, so maybe he figured something out, but he’s still pretty below average in that department.
I’d take a chance on him if I were the Dodgers. He’s certainly an upgrade over Ryan Theriot at second and could easily replace Rafael Furcal or Casey Blake if one gets injured or next year when both are presumably gone. But in a thin market for infielders, he’s probably going to get paid more than he’s worth. As long as the Dodgers realize that and don’t expect him to be an elite hitter, great. If they think they’re going to get everything they pay for, however, they may be a bit disappointed.
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.