Or, as McLain refers to him, “Stephen Strousburg,” but let’s just chalk that up to prison educational programs not being as strong as they should be:
Folks, you never see it coming, it takes one pitch, one bad wind-up, one bad anything, but who the hell can predict that someone is going to get hurt? If I am a fan in Washington, I want my money back if they sit this phenom down for the rest of the year, by the way, if they are afraid of him getting hurt, why pitch him at all? Maybe next year, 5 innings huh?
I’m sort of in an uncomfortable position here in that, very broadly speaking, I agree that Strasburg should pitch more, and I never ever like agreeing with a dude like Denny McLain.
But I’m also of the view that Denny McLain is perhaps the biggest idiot to ever wear a baseball uniform and I find the idea that he makes zero connection between the Tigers pitching him into the damn dirt when he was 20-25 years-old and him breaking down and being washed up at age 26 to be almost too delicious to be true.
Anyway, we have to be near the end of the list people who have an opinion on Strasburg. At least until it comes up in the presidential debates.
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.