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Hal Steinbrenner says Alex Rodriguez is getting too much of the blame

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner had a telephone interview with the Associated Press earlier today and you’ll be shocked to learn that he was asked about Alex Rodriguez.

While Steinbrenner wouldn’t discuss any speculation about whether Rodriguez will be back in New York next season, he did say that the the 37-year-old is getting too much of the blame for the team’s ALCS loss to the Tigers.

“He was just one of quite a few that just had a bad time at the plate,” the team’s co-chairperson said Friday during a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “So is it fair to accuse him of everything but the Kennedy assassination? No, it’s not fair, but we’ll see what happens from this point on.”

Rodriguez’s situation has naturally received a lot of attention over the past week, so he has been cast as the scapegoat in some circles, but he’s pretty far down the list among those responsible for the Yankees’ ALCS loss. One could argue that he’s even less to blame than his replacement Eric Chavez, who was 0-for-8 with four strikeouts during the series and made defensive miscues in both Games 3 and 4. But what fun is that?

As for A-Rod’s future in pinstripes, he said after last night’s game that he has no plans to waive no-trade clause. Meanwhile, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com earlier today that he has no intention to shop Rodriguez this offseason. Unfortunately, I’m guessing we haven’t heard the last of this story.

Report: Braves sign Kurt Suzuki

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 20: Kurt Suzuki #8 of the Minnesota Twins hits against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.

Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.

The team has yet to confirm the deal.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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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.