It was mostly “no comment” in the Red Sox clubhouse this afternoon after the Yahoo! Sports report stating that Red Sox players met with ownership to try to get Bobby Valentine fired as manager.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty has the quotes:
“I just want to play baseball, man,” Dustin Pedroia said, declining to confirm or deny Jeff Passan’s report.
Adrian Gonzalez, the reported ringleader, admitted to a meeting, but when asked if he was trying to get Valentine fired, he said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He went on bash Passan’s article: “I’ve never seen that guy in our clubhouse before. He doesn’t know what’s going on with us.”
Red Sox upper management must not believe that things are quite as bad as Passan presented, given that the team neither fired Valentine nor weighed dealing Gonzalez when the Dodgers came calling before the trade deadline. The meeting happened last month, so the Sox could have parted ways with Gonzalez if they thought he was a driving force in a clubhouse full of malcontents.
Of course, there are two other possibilities: things really are that bad and upper management either just doesn’t realize it or is divided on what to do about it. That division does seem to exist, after all; it’s why Valentine, Larry Lucchino’s choice, got the job when GM Ben Cherington reportedly preferred Dale Sveum and Gene Lamont.
On the plus side, at least the players are now united in a common cause. Score one for Bobby V.
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.