More fallout from the Curt Schilling controversy from last week. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston has two sources with direct knowledge of the 2008 investigation into Schilling’s claims that a Red Sox employee suggested he take PEDs telling him that the claim by Schilling was “completely baseless.”
Theo Epstein and a spokesman for Major League Baseball said last week there was an investigation and that it did not result in discipline (more comment from Theo here). This report, however, seems to take it a bit further, suggesting not only was no wrongdoing found but suggesting that Schilling made it all up. For his part, Schilling stands by the story.
This has become such a weird story. I still wonder why initial responses from MLB and from Jed Hoyer suggested no knowledge of the incident. But that could be just a quirk of memory or a matter of people not fully authorized to say things vamping for time until official statements could be made. This stuff — the suggestion that Schilling was crying wolf — was even weirder.
Maybe a function of Schilling’s then well known dispute with the Red Sox about how to treat his injured shoulder? He wants surgery, they suggest treatment and medication and he, being the dramatic sort, takes that to be a suggestion to take PEDs?
No idea, but with Schilling I suppose anything is possible.
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.