… it smells like … victory:
this offseason Brian Cashman publicly bashed the face of the franchise, forced the best relief pitcher in the history of baseball to talk to Red Sox, scaled a building in Stamford, Conn., had dinner with Carl Crawford and then hours later Crawford signed with the Red Sox and now you can add letting a pitcher turn down seven years and $154 million to that list.
That comes from Neil Keefe of CBS New York. He’s saying that in a joking tone, but I think it speaks to real anxiety. Certainly the remainder of his very long hand-wringing column about the allegedly dire straits the Yankees are in and his distrust of Brian Cashman show it. And I’m sure there are Yankees fans out there who are saying similar things in 100% seriousness.
Yankeefreude has its limits — you can only get so much enjoyment from negativity after all — but I can’t say that it isn’t somewhat amusing to see fans of the Bombers have to face the kind of uncertainty about their roster that fans of every other team have had to face over the past 15 years. Welcome to being regular baseball fans, Yankee Universe. Ain’t it great?
But don’t worry. Unlike the rest of us, you’ll only have to feel it for a couple of weeks, at which time your team will make some crazy move that 25-27 other teams couldn’t due to payroll restrictions. Then, later, you can talk about how awful this all was with other Yankees fans. Sort of like the time you got lost in a bad part of town during your last trip to Paris or something. “Really, I thought I was going to die …“
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.