Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reports that Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball are discussing changes to the posting system. Talks are just starting and won’t affect anyone for the 2013 season, but the hope is to have something new in place for next winter.
As you know, the posting system involves teams blindly bidding for the rights to negotiate with the Japanese player who is seeking to come to the U.S. The Japanese player’s NPB team picks the highest bidder who then tries to strike a deal with the player. If they do, the MLB team pays the player and the posting fee. If they don’t, the posting fee is returned.
As Passan notes, the upshot of the negotiations involves MLB’s desire to have the bidding for negotiation rights to be open, so that the winning bidder need only top the next highest bid by a little, rather than make blind offers. Such a system would be more efficient (and obviously cheaper) for the MLB teams and would allow for the player to get more money in his pocket. After all, if a team had $100 million to offer a stud NPB player, an efficient system would allow, say, $35 million to go for posting and $65 million to the player as opposed to, say, $50 million to posting and $50 million to the player. Oh, and if the more dollars could go to the player, it’s more likely that they’d sign in the U.S., thus actually allowing posting fees to be paid to NPB teams instead of being refunded.
Efficiency: it’s what’s for dinner.
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.