Major League Baseball just released Bud Selig’s official statement on the new Melky Cabrera Rule. And — as I’m sure all of you will love — it opens up a whole new avenue of PED punishment and debate:
“After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera’s request,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera’s peers who are contending for the batting crown.”
Very nice of him, but now, apparently, the PED offender’s level of “regret” is relevant. Fifty games and millions in fines will not be considered enough in the court of public opinion. Whether a PED user is truly remorseful will depend on whatever ad-hoc grand gesture of contrition he makes over and above the suspension and forfeited salary.
If Melky will give up his batting title, what will the next guy have to do? How many columns will be written by awards and Hall of Fame voters judging the player’s level of regret and finding it wanting? Heck, they do that already. As of today, however, they have an official diktat of Major League Baseball with which to justify their sanctimony.
All I know is that if I were Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, I’d call a press conference tomorrow in which I officially remove myself from Hall of Fame consideration for one year. I declare that, because of my baseball sins, I do not feel worthy to be on the first ballot for which I am eligible, and do not wish to be considered among the great men who were first ballot inductees. I would go on about how I am remorseful for my actions. I’d even throw a bone to Jack Morris, saying I don’t want to be unfair to him for extra credit.
I bet people would eat that up. It’d get them in the Hall of Fame faster than they otherwise would. Melky and Major League Baseball have shown us the way.
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.