Bud Selig is supposed to retire at the end of the 2012 season. He has an office at the University of Wisconsin set up for himself and everything. Yep, pushing 80, it’s time for the Budster to finally ease into retirement. Too bad no one thinks he’s gonna. From Bill Madden’s latest at the Daily News:
… there isn’t a single person in baseball who believes Selig, who turns 78 in July, is going anywhere any time soon … even Selig’s closest friends find laughable the notion of him walking away from a job that pays upwards of $20 million per year, along with the perks of a private jet, to teach sports history.
Madden notes some have suggested that Selig will retire so he can be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Madden quotes someone who thinks Selig is likely to get the “must be retired” rule at the Hall of Fame changed. Which, in all honesty, he could probably do with a phone call.
Madden thinks that it will soon be announced that Selig will accept a a two-year extension to remain on as Commissioner with the pretext being to see the Mets through their troubles and to help the Rays find a new ballpark and/or city.
I wouldn’t bet two bits against that. I probably wouldn’t bet a nickel.
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.