Here’s what went down over the past 48 hours:
- The Yankees are talking to Andruw Jones. Say what you will about the Yankees offseason thus far, but if they lose this one to the Phillies for less money, it’s gonna really hurt.
- Frank McCourt went to New York to plead with Major League Baseball to help him out in keeping the Dodgers. I picture Selig in his office talking to his consigliere and saying “do I have to see him?” not unlike Don Corleone before Luca Brasi came in during Connie’s wedding.
- Meanwhile Joe Torre was likewise petitioning MLB , in his case for Sandy Alderson’s old gig as an advisor to Selig. They should have hired him on the spot and made it his first task to give McCourt the bum’s rush out of the MLB offices.
- The Mets want another starter, but won’t pay much for one. This is totally shocking.
- We can make fun of the Chicago Sun-Times for mixing up pictures of Matt Garza and Joaquin Benoit, but I sorta live in fear of doing this myself.
- The Yankees are still thinking about Rafael Soriano. If form holds, there will be a report discounting any Yankee interest in him in 3 … 2 … 1 …
- The Rangers tried to get Matt Garza before the Cubs did. Or maybe it was Joaquin Benoit. We’re not entirely sure.
- I hate this world sometimes. I truly hate it.
- I kinda feel bad that Luis Castillo is always lumped into stories with Oliver Perez. I mean, no, he didn’t earn his contract either, but they are light years apart in terms of magnitude of suckitude.
- Here’s hoping Tony Gwynn gets better soon.
- My wife got me “Bull Durham” on DVD for Christmas, so now I can study the subject of baseball groupies much more closely. Pfun Pfact: the woman who played Millie is married to Tom Lennon from “The State” and “Reno: 911.” I just thought that was weird and that you should know about it.
And now on with our scheduled week.
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.