Mark Trumbo went to the All-Star Game last year and is about to notch a second straight 30-homer, 90-RBI season, so he could easily fall back on the old “I get paid to produce runs” line. It’s nice to see that he doesn’t.
“The casual fan would probably be pretty pumped up when they see the baseball-card numbers, and the new-age fans are probably not going to be too terribly thrilled with a player like me,” Trumbo told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “But you know what, at the end of the day, you are who you are. I want to get better and do what I do.”
By the new-age fans, Trumbo is referring to those who would point to his current .291 OBP. His career mark is .299. Of the 251 first basemen since 1900 to amass 1,500 plate appearances in the majors, Trumbo ranks 238th in OBP.
On the other hand, Trumbo has 90 homers and 268 RBI in three seasons of playing time. That makes him an asset, even if he’s more of a No. 5 or No. 6 hitter than someone who should bat cleanup with any regularity.
“I do quite a few things well, and there are some things I don’t do well, which are quite obvious,” Trumbo said. “Unfortunately, you tend to dwell on what you want to get better at. I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out how I can do certain things better.”
Another player in Trumbo’s situation might be content with his lot. That Trumbo isn’t bodes better for his future. The Angels declared him off limits in trade talks this summer, and he’s still being viewed as one of their building blocks.
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.