You know that friend you have who makes everything about them? How, no matter how attenuated their connection to something going on in the world, they filter it through their own experiences? Yeah, that’s this Joel Sherman column about the Red Sox-Dodgers trade:
But in the winner-loser here and now, it is hard to ignore that the biggest loser was not even directly involved in the trade finalized yesterday. The biggest loser is the New York Mets. Because the Mets could not get even enough health and production from Jason Bay and/or Johan Santana to make the kind of financial reset trade the Red Sox just did by unloading Beckett and Crawford, in particular.
Sherman goes on to slam the Mets, calling them “losers.” Losers because they couldn’t unload Bay and Santana. Losers because the Dodgers and Mets were both financial wrecks a few short months ago but now look at the Dodgers go. Losers because they are not “energizing the fan base” the way L.A. is and aren’t freeing up payroll like Boston is.
Which is insane. A salary-dump trade of this magnitude has never, ever happened in the history of baseball. The Mets were never for sale and the line of people willing to pay $2 billion and then absorb nearly $300 million in salaries is non-existent even if they were. And that’s before you note that the Mets had nothing like Adrian Gonzalez to throw into such a trade to make it worth the Dodgers’ while.
To rip the Mets for not doing what the Dodgers did here is cheap and silly. It’s like ripping your kid for not becoming the Dalai Lama. Sure, that kind of thing happens in the world, but it’s unfair in the extreme to suggest that there’s something wrong with him for not doing it.
But I guess there’s no hate like Mets hate, so this was probably inevitable.
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.