According to the arrest report arising from Manny Ramirez’s arrest for domestic violence last night, Ramirez and his wife were arguing. Ramirez slapped her face, causing her to hit her head on their bed’s headboard. Ramirez’s wife was afraid that the violence would escalate so she called police. She declined medical treatment but did have marks consistent with her story, the report said.
The incident itself is a subject for law enforcement now. The subject of Manny Ramirez, however, is no longer appropriately the subject of jokes and apologies.
I don’t think even the harshest Manny Ramirez critics ever considered him to be a truly bad guy. His transgressions were usually seen as those of an absent-minded man. A flake. Someone with motivation problems. The PED stuff was troubling, but so many ballplayers did it that it spoke more to his baseball character than some inherent personal flaw apart from said laziness. Those of us who truly believed in the concept of Manny being Manny thought of him as a mostly benign eccentric.
That narrative wasn’t perfect. For one thing, it didn’t really account for that time he shoved the Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground during an argument over tickets. The Manny being Manny narrative absorbed that, however, because it was quickly followed by a trade and a new set of seemingly harmless Manny behavior — and good play — once he got to Los Angeles.
But that narrative of the kooky flake doesn’t really hold water anymore. Maybe it shouldn’t have before. Either way, this is obviously very serious and very sad business.
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.