Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Wilson Ramos intends to start playing for Aragua Tigres on Wednesday. This is one of those deals where, after you get over the initial reaction — dude, I’d be the heck out of Venezuela, like, yesterday if I were him — it makes a ton of sense.
After Ramos’ ordeal, you have to figure that some normalcy is in order, and it doesn’t get more normal than playing ball. Also, as we learned on Friday, the security for players who are actually with Venezuelan ballclubs is pretty fantastic. It’s inescapable that Ramos was way more vulnerable at home doing his own thing than he would be hanging around the clubhouse.
Finally, you can’t discount the “lightning doesn”t strike twice” theory. Kidnappings happen in Venezuela every day. Ramos’ was one of the few that led to such a wide and swift reaction among the populace and the government. You have to figure that would-be kidnappers are going to consider Ramos and his family hands-off. Heck, would-be kidnappers may decide to lay off major leaguers overall because the heat is too hot. At least you’d hope so.
Anyway: have a good winter league season, Ramos. See you in Florida come February.
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.