Things can be tough for journeyman role players in the big leagues, as Nick Green of the Marlins has learned and is about to learn again.
Just yesterday MLB.com ran a story with the headline: “Green more than veteran presence for Marlins.” An excerpt:
“I just want to play the game the right way–the way it’s supposed to be played,” Green said. “To bunt a guy over or do whatever it takes to get a guy in in certain situations. I feel like everybody is starting to loosen up and not put as much pressure on themselves in those situations.”
Green and Chris Valaika have split time at shortstop since Adeiny Hechavarria went on the disabled list with a bruised right elbow. Although Hechavarria could be reinstated in the next few days, chances are Green and Valaika will both remain with the big league club.
Well, a day later Adeiny Hechavarria is just about ready to come off the disabled list and now the Miami Herald has a story with the headline: “Veteran Green expected to be designated for assignment.” An excerpt:
If he clears waivers, he can either accept a reassignment to the minors with the Marlins or try to sign with another team through free agency. It sounded Wednesday like Green was leaning toward the latter.
“It’s disappointing,” Green said of potentially severing ties with the Marlins. “Everybody wants to be in the big leagues and you got to try to do the best you can when you get a chance. That’s all I could do.”
Twenty four hours can be a long time.
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.