What we have here is … a failure to communicate.
Someone with the Cubs assumed that Ryan Dempster was going to be OK going to the Braves. If they didn’t think that, they wouldn’t have gotten a deal in place yesterday. But Ken Rosenthal reports that, nope, that’s not what Dempster wants:
Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster does not want to be traded to the Atlanta Braves, according to major-league sources.
At least not right now.
Dempster, as a player with 10 years of major-league service, the last five with the same team, has the right to block a trade to the Braves. The pitcher instead wants to be sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were unable to reach agreement with the Cubs on a suitable deal, sources said.
Rosenthal says that the Dodgers are interested, but a deal could not be struck before the Cubs started talking to the Braves, who are thought to be Dempster’s second choice. Which just means that the Cubs’ chances of getting a good deal here are way less today than they were yesterday. I mean, if you’re the Dodgers, you bid low, right? And if you’re the Braves, you pull back on stakes as rich as Randall Delgado now that you know how desperate the Cubs will be if and when they get back to you?
Ten-and-five rights: powerful things.
But we can at least dispense with the notion that Dempster was “blindsided” here, right?
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.