Frank McCourt hired Steve Soboroff as his Vice Chairman a couple of weeks ago. His mission: to help the Dodgers get their security situation in order in the wake of the Bryan Stow beating. His real job since that time: to be a McCourt mouthpiece in his battle with Major League Baseball. Indeed, one of his first acts was to try to shamelessly score some P.R. points against MLB using Dodgers’ security as pretext.
The Los Angeles Times reports that he was at it again yesterday, only this time he decided to tell an outright lie rather than merely spin hypothetical scenarios. Specifically, he told several media outlets that Tom Schieffer, the trustee appointed by Major League Baseball to run the team, did not respond promptly to a request from the Dodgers’ general counsel for upgraded stadium security in the wake of the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
The only problem: it was a lie. Schieffer responded via email within two minutes of the request, granting it. Frank McCourt apologized late yesterday, admitting that Soboroff’s claim was baloney. Soboroff has not commented. Which is understandable, because what is he gonna say? “I hereby retract the bullsh** statement I made that was clearly calculated to make it seem like Schieffer is not on top of his duties in overseeing the Dodgers. I will attempt to offer less baldly false propaganda in my efforts to help Mr. McCourt keep his team in the future”?
Frank McCourt has said a lot of things in the past week in an effort to make it seem like he’s still in charge of the Dodgers. Here’s one thing that might actually work, Frank: fire your buddy Soboroff.
Or not. After all, when the team doesn’t make payroll at the end of the month and MLB takes over, they’re gonna fire him anyway.
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.