According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Yankees will make free-agent-to-be Nick Swisher a qualifying offer this winter, but they have “no interest” in re-signing him to a multiyear deal.
The qualifying offer, which would be worth about $13.5 million for 2013, would secure the Yankees a draft pick if Swisher leaves as a free agent. Swisher could opt to accept the one-year deal, but since he’s likely to receive mulityear offers as a free agent, that’s a long shot.
Before a bust of an October in which he hit .167 in 30 at-bats, Swisher had another fine regular season for the Yankees this year, batting .272/.374/.473 with 24 homers and 93 RBI. He’s finished with OPSs between .820 and .870 in each of his four years with the Yankees.
With Swisher, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones all set for free agency, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner are the only veteran Yankees outfielders under contract for next season. Granderson’s $13 million option is assured of being picked up. The Yankees could make an attempt to re-sign Ichiro and Ibanez, but it’s hard to imagine that they’d be content with that foursome of left-handers as their primary outfielders. They could pursue Cody Ross, Torii Hunter or maybe even ALCS MVP Delmon Young as a right-handed-hitting option. Hunter would seem to be a particularly nice fit, but he is expected to remain with the Angels.
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.
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.