Steve Dilbek talked to Stan Kasten about the plan for renovating Dodger Stadium. In the short term — meaning this offseason — there are a lot of things that are going to get done: upgrades to the electrical system and water pipes. A sound system tweak. Addition of more gathering areas. That sort of thing.
But when asked about larger, more long-term plans, Kasten says that he and his partners haven’t thought about it yet:
“I know what we need in this ballpark for now, that I can do now in this off-season. Now if I also knew I was going to be here for the next 50 years like Wrigley and Fenway, then we’d also be doing probably other 50-year things,” he said. “I would be announcing a five-year building program. That may yet happen. I haven’t had my time to think about the second step … I know those are fair questions, and there will be time for me and us to think about that. We just haven’t had that time yet. My guess is we’ll be here, long term, permanent.”
And, as Dilbek notes, it is just a guess, as there are a lot of possibilities involving Chavez Ravine, AEG — which the Guggenheim Group which owns the Dodgers may buy — and AEG’s plans to build an NFL stadium. Which could be downtown. Or could be at Chavez Ravine. As could a ballpark for that matter.
My instincts as a fan would be to go with a Fenway-style renovation, keeping the beauty, view, and the most apparent and wonderful elements of Dodger Stadium intact, while modernizing the place. Ultimately, though, it’s gonna be about the money. Because it’s always about the money.
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.