As soon as the Phillies released Delmon Young last week there was speculation that the Rays might be interested in reuniting with their one-time top prospect and sure enough Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides have agreed to a deal.
According to Rosenthal it’s a minor-league contract and Young will head to Double-A, presumably with an eye toward getting a September call-up once rosters expand. He’s still being paid by the Phillies, so the Rays got Young for basically nothing.
As an everyday player Young is a mess, dragging a team down offensively and defensively, but as a cheap part-timer used mostly as a designated hitter versus left-handed pitching he can still be somewhat useful. For his career Young has hit .306 with an .820 OPS versus lefties, which is more than 100 points higher than his OPS versus righties, and it’s hard to imagine the always defense-driven Rays being willing to watch him stumble around in the outfield.
Tampa Bay drafted Young first overall out of high school in 2003 and he played one-and-a-half seasons with the Rays before they traded him to the Twins for a package that included Matt Garza. Six hugely disappointing years later he returns to Tampa Bay not as a highly paid star, but as someone trying to save his career with a low-paid bench gig.
Last time Young played for Double-A Montgomery in the Rays’ farm system? Back in 2005, when he was 19 years old and hit .336 with 20 homers in 84 games. The next spring Baseball America named him the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball.
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.