Leake mugshot

Following up on the Mike Leake arrest

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I think the strangest thing arising out of the Mike Leake shoplifting arrest yesterday is not the fact that a man who makes over $400,000 a year and recently got a $2 million signing bonus felt it necessary to steal. Rather, the strangest thing is that he somehow got caught stealing “six shirts worth $59.88.”  Upon seeing this, some people suggested that it was an elaborate ploy by Macy’s to publicize just how affordable their merchandise truly is.

Thankfully today we have clarity on this important point: they were American Rag pocket t-shirts. They normally retail for $14.50, but were apparently on sale for $9.98.  Macy’s was virtually giving them away! Any less and you’d practically be stealing from them! Wait. Bad choice of words.

Anyway, as Hal McCoy notes this morning, Leake got a paycheck for $40K on Friday and the Reds’ clubhouse manager probably would have given Leake six shirts for free if he had asked.  All of which makes me wonder what the hell was going on here. Leake isn’t an actor so he can’t play the “I was researching a role” card. He’s not as cute as Winona Ryder, so there likely won’t be any “Free Mike” t-shirts printed up.  It all just makes me wonder if there isn’t some sort of mental issue or impulse control problem or existential crisis or something like which explains this.  Remember Jeff Reardon’s thing? Not all property crime is about greed or possessions. Sometimes it’s just an outlet.

As for the more pedestrian explanations, the Reds and Leake issues the following statements last night. Via Mark Sheldon at MLB.com, here’s the Reds:

“On behalf of the Cincinnati Reds organization, at this time we are advised to not publicly address this matter because of the pending legal proceedings. However, we do not condone behavior of the type alleged, which is wholly inconsistent with the principles of this organization and our community and is detrimental to the positive direction we seek to follow. When the legal process has been completed, we will handle this matter internally.”

And Leake’s statement:

“Today, Mike Leake was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of theft from the Macy’s store downtown.  Right now, he has been advised by his attorney to offer no further statements on this matter. This case will proceed in the justice system, where Mike’s story will be told. Until that time, there will be nothing further from Mike on this episode until the court proceedings have concluded. However, Mike wishes to apologize to his family, the fans, Mr. Castellini, Walt, Dusty, his teammates and the entire Reds organization for this distraction.”

Leake pitches on Thursday.

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.