Last Thursday, Hanley Ramirez was quoted as saying that “it would be a good move” for the Marlins to sign Jose Reyes. He sidestepped questions about a position change, though he did note that he considered himself a shortstop.
Seems that that’s pretty much the limit of his diplomatic skills, because Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald tweeted that Ramirez was “not at all pleased” with a possible move to third base. In an article by Spencer posted last night, Ramirez is quoted as saying “I’m the shortstop. I’ve always been a shortstop.” Spencer added that Ramirez and Reyes — despite being portrayed as friends by some — are actually not friendly with one another.
Sort of a poor-man’s Jeter-A-Rod, eh? Except in this instance the new guy, assuming Reyes signs with Miami, isn’t going to switch positions and the old guy does not have one scintilla of the diplomatic skills and goodwill built up to be able to successfully pull off such intransigence.
As Spencer notes, there have been a lot of shortstops who have made the switch to third, with A-Rod and Cal Ripken Jr. being the most notable. Ramirez is not so great a shortstop that he will stick at short long term anyway, and his bat is strong enough to play anywhere, third base included.
But if his pouting skills are as strong as his hitting skills, this could be a fairly ugly situation for Ozzie Guillen to have to manage.
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.