Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger that he is “not comfortable anymore” talking to Alex Rodriguez given the litigious nature of the third baseman’s interactions with the club lately. Rodriguez’s lawyers recently filed a grievance over the team’s medical treatment of Rodriguez dating back to the post-season last year. Cashman defended the medical staff and expressed shock at the entire situation, saying, “We’ve never had anything like this. This is my 16th year. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
More, from McCullough’s column:
“If you all remember, last year, just let’s turn the clock back again. We enter the playoffs. He finally gets healthy from the broken wrist. I think you guys – not us – you guys, the media, asked him how he feels going into the playoffs. He said he felt the best he’s ever felt, or something to that effect, correct?
“We have a whole level of medical staff. We have team doctors. We have team trainers. We have a strength and conditioning coach. We have chiropractors. All of which get their hands on this guy. All of which he interacts with, every single one of them has their own level of dedications with each off our players, that they provide services for. And they’re all the same. No complaints. Nothing.”
Cashman added that the entire situation involving Rodriguez is “definitely a distraction” and called it “frustrating”.
After this season, Rodriguez will still have four years and $86 million left on his contract extension signed in December 2007. Currently at 648 career home runs, he can earn an extra $6 million by reaching 660 home runs. His ability to hit 12 more home runs is highly in doubt as Major League Baseball levied a 211-game suspension against him for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, which he is currently appealing.
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.