Arte Moreno

Arte Moreno: “Dumb owner of the year?” Um, no.

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Repoz at Baseball Think Factory is a renaissance man. In addition to being able to drop references to things no one has thought of since the Ford administration, he (a) has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Ass Ponys back catalog (I think he has “Mr. Superlove” on vinyl); and (b) manages to find all of the loony baseball commentary in existence. He does God’s work in this regard, really, because without him we would have no idea of half of the things that should outrage us so.

Anyway, today Repoz found a column by Clark Booth of the Dorchester Reporter talking about how Dumb Arte Moreno is for giving Albert Pujols all that money.  And that’s not me paraphrasing: he really calls him dumb. Gives him the “Dumb Owner of the Year” award and everything:

It’s simply astounding that none of this intelligence, available even to moronic fans in the daily newspapers, ever reaches guys like Moreno. A self-made multi-millionaire who rose up the industrial ranks out of nothing, Moreno presumably possesses deep business acumen. But these guys stash their wisdom in cold storage when Albert Pujols comes to town flexing his muscles. Maybe they just fall in love too easily.

I’m gonna allow for the possibility that Booth is actually being clever here and making the point that dudes like Moreno became rich precisely because they are not dumb, and that anyone who complains about the Pujols contract is totally underselling Moreno’s business acumen.

But I kind of don’t think that’s what he’s doing here. I think he really does think that the “moronic fans in the daily newspapers” have a better idea of how badly the Pujols contract is gonna hurt the Angels than Moreno does.  Because they have better access to the details of the $100 million annual raise in TV revenues the Angels are getting and which more than pays for Pujols’ deal, I guess.

Is it the best baseball contract ever? Nah. Like I’ve said, it’s gonna look bad on the back end.  But it’s certainly not “dumb.”  Not by a longshot.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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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.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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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.