In honor of the beginning of spring training, Realtor.com has assembled a page of listings of homes of several former and current ballplayers. The players: Adrian Beltre, Pat Burrell, Matt Cain, Barry Larkin, Derek Lowe, Jack McDowell, Jamie Moyer, John Smoltz — whose home we’ve featured previously — and Jonathan Papelbon. There are links to several more pictures of each house at the bottom of the page.
- Moyer’s is a tudor-style mansion. It is not, as is commonly believed, an actual tudor-era home, built under his personal supervision in the year 1587, though it could be. Because Jamie Moyer is old. Get it? He’s old! Hahaha! Ah, ahem. Sorry.
- Pat Burrell’s house in Scottsdale is exactly as I would have expected for a guy with his swingin’ single reputation. I believe he purchased it from Austin Powers.
- I was disappointed to read on Jonathan Papelbon’s Wikipedia page that he has two children, because I was hoping that the kid-friendly design of his home was all for him. Like he was Ricky Schroeder in “Silver Spoons” or something.
Overall: ballplayers in general have a lot of damn money and spend it on pretty fabulous real estate and because I have something of a real estate fetish I wish I was rich like baseball players are sometimes. There, I said it.
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.