I’m struggling to decide what to make of this bit of analysis of Lance Berkman’s season from Joel Sherman in today’s New York Post:
The Yankees lineup would look a lot more fierce with him as the DH while he has shown a renewed athleticism that he could have mixed in at first, left and right. And here is one other thing to at least consider: Berkman is one of Andy Pettitte’s best friends. If the Yankees had kept Berkman would that have convinced Pettitte to play for another year?
And if Berkman were a Yankee he wouldn’t be playing right field and thus maybe wouldn’t have forced himself into shape and would be hitting .232/.305/412. And if me auntie were a man she’d be my uncle. And if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a happy Christmas.
More to the point, one paragraph before he offers the above passage, Sherman notes that keeping Berkman was never a possibility. And last fall, when his option was up, Sherman never once — nor did anyone else on the planet — think that the Yankees keeping Berkman made any kind of sense. Because it didn’t. Not at $15 million or at any other price.
So what’s the point? Just to throw meat at the people who will always seek to find some fault with whatever the Yankees are doing? To appeal to the “if we only had Andy Pettitte!” dead-enders?
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.