Jhonny Peralta

Jhonny Peralta is in The Best Shape of His Life

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The main point of BSOHL articles is to poke a bit of fun at the recurrence of a cliche that, until around last year anyway, most people didn’t realize was a cliche.  The secondary though related point was to observe that, as far as cliches go, it’s a kind of empty one inasmuch as the relationship between guys proclaiming their enhanced conditioning and enhanced performance is pretty darn weak. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t, but usually a BSOHL declaration is an exercise in public relations.

Jhonny Peralta may be a different case, however. I’ve paid less attention since he’s been in Detroit, but when he was in Cleveland his weight fluctuated pretty significantly from season to season as did his performance.  He was slender in 2005, porked up a bit the next year, got slim again before 2008 and his game more or less followed suit.

So, while most of these BSHOL/weight loss declarations don’t carry too much, um, weight, they probably are a bit more significant in the case of Jhonny Peralta. With that, I give you Tom Gage’s latest in the Detroit News:

… last week while manager Jim Leyland and general manager Dave Dombrowski were making a lot of positive comments about the 2013 Tigers, there was no indication they are anything less than content with Peralta as the incumbent.Fewer pounds would be preferable, they told him, as he headed home for the winter. He got the message and lost 18.

“It’s good,” Peralta said. “I’ve never been at this weight since I’ve been with Detroit. I finished last season at 236. I’m at 218 now.”

That bodes well.

In some other parts of his game, however, he’s less eager to talk.  Gage, while noting that Peralta is sure-handed, comments about his range, which is near the worst among everyday shortstops. Here’s Peralta:

“I don’t like it when people talk about my range,” he said. “I know it’s important, and I know I can be better, but I think I’ve done a really good job at shortstop.”

I don’t like it when people talk about my grammar or when I make bad arguments, but those are key parts of my job and when I suck at those things I can’t really complain if people criticize. Same with a shortstop’s range, right? So, sorry Jhonny.

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.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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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.