Yesterday Jeff Passan reported that, contrary to our assumptions, Zack Greinke is indeed willing to pitch in New York, and that winning is more important to him than avoiding media scrutiny and crowds and stuff. George King reports this morning, however, that the Yankees “aren’t buying it,” and that they believe Greinke truly doesn’t want to pitch in New York.
Deep thought: has anyone asked Greinke whether he’d be fine with it? Because that might be helpful.
I’ve said it before, but let me say it again: our speculation about what Zack Greinke may or may not be able to handle in light of his anxiety disorder is ignorant, silly and in some ways irresponsible. We don’t know for certain that it is triggered by crowds or press or scrutiny. Perhaps it’s triggered by negativity, competitive setbacks and the sense that all of the weight of the world is on him. If that were the case, wouldn’t Kansas City be a worse place for him to be than New York? At least there would be a decent assurance that he’d win with the Yankees, and with all of the other star power on the team the focus on him would be less rather than greater. Ask Nick Swisher how he’s doing these days.
And all of that could be baloney too. The point is that the only ones who know for certain about whether Greinke wants to be in New York and whether his anxiety issues would be triggered by playing there are Zack Greinke and his doctor. To suggest we know better is to suggest that we know the first thing about how anxiety disorder really works and how it’s operating in a specific patient. I think I know a lot of stuff, but I don’t believe I know that. Do you?
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.