Tim Wakefield

Tim Wakefield says 2011 will “probably” be his last season

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Jamie Moyer is undergoing elbow surgery with an eye toward returning in 2012 at age 49, but Tim Wakefield isn’t planning to stick around that long.

He’ll be back with the Red Sox in 2011 after going 4-10 with a 5.40 ERA this year, but the 44-year-old knuckleballer told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that “this probably will be my last year”:

There are still some numbers I want to achieve, but I’m not going to put that much pressure on myself knowing that this probably will be my last year. I’m not going to come out and say I’m going to retire at the end of the 2011 season. But getting closer to the end, I’d really like to enjoy it more than I did last year.

When he says “there are still some numbers I want to achieve” Wakefield is likely talking about the fact that he’s 13 wins away from tying Cy Young and Roger Clemens for the most victories in Red Sox history, but he hasn’t won 13 games in a season since 2007.

Wakefield was unhappy with a spot starter/long reliever role this year, but seems resigned to the fact that he won’t be back in the Red Sox’s rotation barring a rash of injuries, saying: “I’m looking forward to coming in and contributing in whatever manner I can.”

Asked about Moyer’s plans for a post-surgery comeback, Wakefield replied: “Good for him. I don’t why, but good for him.”

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.