Gee, he ought to start a website with that name. Oops! Too late!
The Cardinals are obviously trying to settle as much family business as they can before the season ends and all efforts will have to be put into the Albert Pujols negotiations. One bit of family business they’d like settled is the matter of Lance Berkman in 2012. He has said he wants to be back. The Cardinals certainly want him back. But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it hasn’t been smooth sailing thus far, with there existing “a difference of opinion over its worth.”
Or, as Berkman puts it:
“It’s always about money,” Berkman said. “No matter what people say, it’s always about the money.”
Berkman took what was, essentially, a make-good deal this year, dropping from his $14.5 million in 2010 to an $8 million deal. No, that’s not chicken feed and it actually strains the definition of “make-good contract,” but the fact was that he took some risk. If he had flopped in 2011, he’d have nothing to look forward to but one-year deals at around a million per, with the Reggie Sanders career path being his best case scenario.
But he made good. Both with the bat and in terms of his conditioning and defensive flexibility. He gave the Cardinals the most anyone could have expected from an age-35 Lance Berkman, and now he’d like to be paid like a dude who hit .296/.407/.550. I can’t say I blame him.
Not that Berkman is being unreasonable. According to the report, he simply wants a one-year deal without performance incentives and stuff. If I’m the Cardinals, I balk at him wanting, like, three years or something at this age. And it’s not like I’m going to pay him $15 million no matter the duration. But if he simply wants a one-year deal at the market rate for an excellent corner outfielder/first baseman approaching his latter years, I’m not sure why I wouldn’t give it to him. Because someone else certainly will.
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.