UPDATE: Mark Saxson of ESPN Los Angels says that Vlad is not part of the Angels’ Plan B.
That’s the speculation from the Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna:
Adrian Beltre, according to numerous media reports, is closing in on a deal with the Texas Rangers, a move that would be a considerable blow to the Angels’ playoff hopes and would greatly increase the chances of slugger Vladimir Guerrero returning to Anaheim.
While the 2010 line looked nice, Vlad had a pretty poor second half and a simply dreadful postseason for the Rangers last year. An extra year on the odometer and moving out of the friendly confines of the Ballpark at Arlington aren’t likely to help him either. And of course, bringing in Guerrero also means leaving Bobby Abreu in the field full-time, when there was a lot of talk about making him the DH in 2011. All in all bringing back Vlad would be a meh-at-best move for Anaheim. He doesn’t really help much even if everything breaks perfectly. And if it doesn’t break perfectly, it’s potentially harmful.
But my favorite part of all of this is the following line — delivered tongue in cheek, I hope — in DiGiovanna’s article:
But the Angels pulled their offer to Beltre before Christmas, and owner Arte Moreno made it clear at the time that the team would not increase what it felt was a very competitive offer. Beltre’s deal with the Rangers will reportedly be for five or six years and between $90 million and $100 million.
Loosely translated, the second sentence in that passage means “that word ‘competitive’ you just used; I do not think it means what you think it means.”
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.