Angels owner Arte Moreno is done spending for the moment, sources told Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com. According to the report, Moreno has told GM Tony Reagins he won’t be allowed to take on any additional salary this summer.
Including the $12 million they’re paying Scott Kazmir and the $11.4 million due to Gary Matthews Jr. in the final season of his 68-year deal, the Angels are spending just over $140 million on a 33-37 team this year.
$18 million of that is going to their big winter acquisition, Vernon Wells. However, Wells is hitting just .193/.235/.317 with six homers and 16 RBI in 171 at-bats for his new club.
The Angels are also paying $8.8 million to relievers Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi after signing them as free agents. Downs has been exceptional, but he has served two stints on the DL. Takahashi has a 4.08 ERA and isn’t much more than a mop-up man at the moment (18 of his last 19 appearances have come in Angels losses).
Despite their struggles, the Angels are still very much in the AL West race. They’re just three games back of the Rangers, who have lost five in a row. However, without reinforcements, they’ll be at a definite disadvantage as the year goes on. They have little pitching depth beyond their current rotation, and while their offense could get a little better if Wells and Torii Hunter rebound, the team doesn’t figure to finish any higher than ninth or 10th in the AL in runs (it’s 11th right now).
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.