The Red Sox seemed pretty interested in Dale Sveum for their managerial opening and now the Cubs have him. Or, will have him, assuming that he accepts their offer. And it seems like he should because the Red Sox apparently decided against him:
Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner, who met with Sveum yesterday, appear to want a candidate with more major league managerial experience.
Which is sort of silly considering their entire managerial search thus far has been focused on guys who have not really managed in the Major Leagues that much. Gene Lamont has, but I don’t think anyone thought of him a a frontrunner for the job. Rather, it was Sveum, Mike Maddux, Pete Mackanin, Torey Lovullo and Sandy Alomar Jr. None of whom have had a full time manager’s gig in the bigs.
But now they want someone totally different than that? Some guy who has a lot of major league experience? You’d think that if that were the case they would interviewed such beasts some time in the past few weeks. Not that a ton of those guys exist. As Pete Abe notes:
Finding worthwhile candidates with experience could be difficult. There are former managers available such as Don Wakamatsu, Jim Riggleman or Trey Hillman. Another possibility would be ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine.
I know there are some Bobby Valentine rah-rah guys out there, but is anyone really inspired by that list?
Anyway, to sum up: the Sox pushed out the franchise’s best manager of all time, threw him under the bus with the press when he left, and conducted a search for his replacement that, after several weeks, is now being completely refocused in terms of what kind of candidate ownership wants.
It’s funny: after the season the Boston clubhouse was lambasted for its apparent dysfunction. I think the front office is in pretty dysfunctional shape itself.
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.