Remember how I mentioned earlier that Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot were likely the favorites to share playing time at second base now that Freddy Sanchez is expected to begin the season on disabled list? Apparently not.
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Giants are telling teams that they are shopping both Theriot and Fontenot. It’s not clear who may have interest, but Stark mentions the Braves and Phillies as potential fits.
Why are the Giants so willing to trade these guys? Good question. Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com was told today by a source that Emmanuel Burriss would be the Opening Day second baseman if the Giants had to choose right now.
Burriss, who is out of options this spring, is batting .436 (17-for-39) with five doubles, one triple, two RBI and five stolen bases during Cactus League action. However, the 27-year-old infieler owns a pretty lousy .250/.311/.281 batting line and a .592 OPS over 651 plate appearances in the major leagues.
Theriot is set to earn $1.25 million this season while Fontenot will make $1.05 million, but their contracts are non-guaranteed. The Giants will surely try to find a suitor over the next few days, but as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle noted yesterday, they have the option to release either of them by March 29 and recoup three-quarters of their salary for 2012.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.