Brian Wilson has started throwing again after missing nearly the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but his days with the Giants could be numbered.
Friday is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players and Wilson seems all but certain to be non-tendered by the Giants after being paid $8.5 million in 2012.
Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement the least Wilson could make in 2013 if offered arbitration by the Giants is $6.8 million–a 20 percent pay cut from $8.5 million–but according to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle the Giants have no interest in guaranteeing him that much money.
According to Schulman the Giants would still like to sign Wilson for a lesser salary, but the two sides “are not exactly seeing eye to eye” in negotiations and if they can’t work something out by Friday he’ll become a free agent.
It makes little sense for the Giants to commit $6.8 million or more to Wilson considering he’s such a huge question mark at age 31. Even setting aside his uncertain health status few relief pitchers are worth that much of a commitment in the first place and the Royals just made a similar decision in declining their $8 million option on Joakim Soria after Tommy John surgery cost him the whole season.
Based on Schulman’s report it sounds like Wilson might turn down a lesser salary from the Giants based partly on hurt feelings, but the odds of him snagging even $5 million in guaranteed money for 2013 on the open market seem pretty long.
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.