Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki haven’t been in the Rockies’ lineup together since September 13 and that won’t change until next year.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Gonzalez has been shut down for the season with a wrist injury and Tulowitzki is “available only in an emergency” due to hip problems. And since there aren’t many emergencies for a sub-.500 team playing the final series of the season with an expanded roster he might as well be shut down too.
Gonzalez got off to a slow start and wasn’t able to duplicate his monster 2010 production, seeing his OPS drop nearly 100 points while missing 35 games, but if you take his rough April out of the equation Gonzalez hit .311 with a .962 OPS in 103 games from May 1 on. Last season he hit .336 with a .974 OPS in 145 games overall.
Tulowitzki’s production has remained steady for the past three seasons, with OPS totals of .930, .949, and .916. Coors Field obviously boosts his raw numbers considerably, but during that three-year span his .931 OPS ranks eighth among all MLB hitters and first among shortstops by nearly 70 points over Hanley Ramirez.
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.