Does the 2010-2011 offseason got you down, Yankees fans? Then why not look ahead to next winter? Larry Koestler of Yankeeist does that this morning. The upshot? Seems like the free agent pickins are a tad slim:
A quick glance at the free agent starting pitching list yields the following potentially interesting names: Mark Buehrle,Chris Carpenter (though he has a team option), Edwin Jackson, Joel Pineiro and C.J. Wilson … For fun, a quick perusal of position players — just in case the Yankees end up trading one of theirs — yields no one particularly interesting in the infield, and includes outfielders Jose Bautista, David DeJesus, J.D. Drew, Corey Hartand Yankeeist favorite Josh Willingham.
Larry’s list doesn’t include guys like Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols, probably because Larry seems like a reasonable guy and doesn’t engage in that “sure, we could sign Pujols to be our DH” nonsense that so many of you people like to traffic in down in the comments. Could it happen? Sure, nothing is impossible in Yankees land, but it’s just not reasonable to think that the Yankees are going to base their plans on that kind of thing. Fielder and Pujols have every incentive to avoid DH situations as they head into free agency and I won’t believe that they’d go to the Bronx until the minute I see them wearing pinstripes at a press conference.
The overall lesson here? Teams are getting better and better about locking up young talent. There are fewer stud free agents hitting the market. For the Yankees to maintain their dominance in the coming years they’re going to have to continue to improve their farm system — which they have done a good job of in recent years — and to be more aggressive in the trade market.
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.