WEEI spoke with David Ortiz before last night’s game and he made it clear that he’s not participating in any more Home Run Derbys. Why? Not for the reason I thought (you can’t flip your bat and strut in the Home Run Derby). It’s because he’s old, man:
“If [Robinson Cano] asks me to do it? I wouldn’t do it. I’m done with that … I can’t do it no more. I can’t even do it in batting practice. Watch me in batting practice, I might lose a couple of balls but that’s it. I can’t do it. It wears me out. Wears me out. And you know the Home Run Derby can be taken lightly. You have to be young with a lot of energy.”
Sounds right and sensible. I get tired watching those guys do it. They take way, way more hacks in a Derby than anyone ever does in BP, and those hacks are obviously harder. The idea that used to hold in which the Home Run Derby destroys guys and changes their swing doesn’t have a ton of evidence behind it, but I’d be shocked if the players who participate in it aren’t totally wiped afterwards.
If I’m a Red Sox fan, I’m really happy that Papi wants no part of the Home Run Derby anymore.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.