The Tigers likely would have been more patient with Scott Sizemore had he possessed a better glove at second base. His track record suggests that he’s going to hit — he’s batting .315/.392/.487 in 170 career games in Triple-A — but his glove at second base has always been shaky and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change.
The A’s highly value defense these days, as evidenced by their decision to spend $6 million to bring back Mark Ellis to play second, so Sizemore may struggle to make inroads at his usual position. The hot corner, though, is ripe for the picking, and Sizemore does have a bit of experience there: he made 11 starts there in Triple-A last year and four more with the Tigers.
Besides, the A’s already have an heir apparent at second base: Jemile Weeks is batting .322/.412/.454 while playing the position exclusively at Triple-A Sacramento this year. They lack a third baseman of the future (though they did give a 16-year-old named Renato Nunez a big bonus last year). Longtime prospect Adrian Cardenas has seen some time there in Triple-A this year, but he’s mostly played the outfield and served as a DH.
Sizemore isn’t necessarily the answer either, but he’s worth a shot with the way that Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andy LaRoche have played this year. I still expect him to turn into a nice .280 hitter with 30-double power. He’ll take over as Sacramento’s third baseman for now, and if he
adjusts well, he could be back in the majors in a couple of weeks.
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.