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UPDATE: Alomar to wear a Jays cap, Blyleven a Twins cap on their Hall of Fame plaques

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UPDATE: Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson confirms that Blyleven’s plaque will have a Twins hat and Alomar’s will have a Blue Jays cap.  In keeping with his statements from last night, Idelson also adds that all players’ caps — not just Angels inductees — will henceforth have halos engraved on them as well.

Wednesday, 4:28 PM: This is always a fun discussion: which caps do the new Hall of Fame inductees wear on their plaques?

Remember: while the Hall used to let them choose, the choice is no longer up to the player.  The Hall didn’t like guys making business arrangements over it and they wanted the plaques to adequately reflect history. Thus, no Wade Boggs in a Rays cap, no Andre Dawson in a Red Sox cap.  The player gets to voice their opinion, but it’s not dispositive.

Neither, however, is a player’s career stats. Remember: Reggie Jackson was a better player for a greater number of years with the Athletics than the Yankees, yet he wears a Yankees cap on his plaque. Nolan Ryan had his best years as an Angel and more years as an Astro, but he has a Rangers cap on. I have no problem with this because, really, when the tales of these players are told, their exploits with the Yankees and Rangers, respectively, are usually the center of the story.  There’s some subjectivity to it.

So, Alomar: it seems obvious to me that he should be a Blue Jay. More years there than anywhere else. Two World Series rings. Slightly less production on a rate-basis there than Baltimore or Cleveland, but only slightly, and he was a way better defender in his younger days in Toronto than he was later (even though he was great later too).  If it’s not the Jays, it would seem rather scandalous to me.

Blyleven seems pretty easy too: 11 years with the Twins, and way way way more innings there than anyplace else he plied his trade. And in some ways it was those last four years there in his second stint that sealed his Hall of Fame case for him. Remember: he was a compiler after all! It would be different if he had some signature moment while he played for the Pirates or Indians or something, but it’s gotta be Minnesota.

Darn. I was hoping when I started this post that it would be closer.  Oh well, at least it’s better than next year when we’ll have to debate whether Barry Larkin wears a Reds cap or a … Reds cap.

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.