Just before the July 31 trade deadline the Pirates were said to be close to acquiring Alex Rios from the White Sox, but that deal fizzled and now like most players this month Rios was placed on waivers.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rangers were awarded the waiver claim on Rios, which means if the White Sox are going to trade him Texas is now the only option. They can also simply pull Rios back and keep him.
Rios makes sense for the Rangers with Lance Berkman still on the disabled list and Nelson Cruz suspended for the remainder of the season. He’s a good defensive right fielder who’s hitting .277 with 12 homers, 26 steals, and a .749 OPS to basically match his career numbers at age 32.
Rios is owed about $4 million for the rest of the this season and is under contract for $12.5 million next year, plus a $13.5 million option or $1 million buyout for 2015. So if the Rangers think he’s worth that money he’d be more than a stretch-run pickup, giving them a longer-term replacement for Cruz in right field.
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.