Yesterday we learned about the MLB investigation of the leaks of the Red Sox players placed on waivers. In the initial report, it was said that MLB does not suspect the Red Sox as being responsible for the leaks. Not everyone’s buying that. Like Rich Levine of CSNNE.com:
Ha! Looks like Lucky Larry pulled a fast one on the chaps over at the league office. Of course the Red Sox are responsible for these leaks.
Um, OK. The evidence Levine has, such as it is, is that the Red Sox have a long rich history of leaking stuff when it suits their needs. Which is absolutely true. I tend to disagree, however, about the incentives, which Levine says the Sox had. Specifically, the incentive to make it clear to fans that they were trying to remake the team.
There was far more risk, it seems, on their big trade to the Dodgers being upset if news of it got out and Dodgers fans and the L.A. media went nuts, realizing how bad a deal it was for them to take on so much salary. Why would the Sox want to queer that deal? Just to show fans they’re trying to do something? The trades themselves were evidence of that a mere couple of days later.
I agree with Levine that the Sox front office has never shown the ability to help itself when it comes to this sort of thing, but there was all kinds of downside to a leak here. And there were 29 other teams who had access to the same information, any one of whom could have done it.
I’d prefer to wait for MLB to investigate before jumping to any conclusions about this.
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.