Via Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Josh Willingham was claimed off trade waivers by at least one other team, a major-league source told the Star Tribune on Wednesday, giving the Twins until noon Friday to work out a trade or pull him back.
The source did not reveal which team has been awarded the waiver claim, but only one team has the right to negotiate a trade for the 34-year-old slugger.
The Twins can either work out a deal with that team, let Willingham go for free to that team or pull him back and keep him for the rest of the 2013 season.
Willingham has hit just .214/.346/.390 in 89 games this summer and is still owed over $8 million through the 2014 season. But he tallied 35 home runs and 110 RBI in 2012 while playing half his games at one of the more pitcher-friendly parks in the major leagues. The 34-year-old could be of help to a contender.
UPDATE, 11:59 PM ET: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are the team that claimed Willingham off waivers and are currently trying to work out a trade with the Twins.
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.