Joel Sherman of the Post thinks he has an idea: either January 3 or January 13. Why?
Here is why: The Hall of Fame announcement is Wednesday, Jan. 8 and both the Commissioners Office and the Players Association would probably ask Horowitz to be respectful not to overwhelm such a special moment with a Rodriguez announcement.
So he figures that either going before that — on the third — or safely after — on the 13th — would give the Hall of Fame announcement the wide berth it deserves.
Which, eh, not buying that that is a concern for anyone. For one thing, MLB is not in control of the arbitrator’s calendar. They’re just as much at the mercy of his schedule as A-Rod’s team is. And I’m having a hard time featuring Horowitz caring too particularly much about MLB’s P.R. needs. Given that he can be fired by either side for any reason, he has no real option but to be his own man. If is seen to be leaning to help one side, the other is going to fire him.
But let’s say that MLB and the arbitrator are on the same page, P.R.-wise. Remember last summer how the first wave of announced suspensions came right before Hall of Fame induction weekend? Selig LOVED that because it gave him a victory lap moment up in Cooperstown with copious quotes from ex-major leaguers about how the game was being cleaned up and all of that stuff. You don’t think Bud Selig would love to have Frank Thomas or someone available to compare and contrast himself to A-Rod in early January? You bet your bippy he would. I think MLB would be just fine being able to pair up the announcement of A-Rod’s suspension and the election of some widely-perceived-to-be-clean Hall of Famers.
Of course, if the decision is to overturn A-Rod’s suspension, well, that would be hilarious.
Maybe that’s when the decision comes out. Maybe it isn’t. But I don’t think that reading the tea leaves like Sherman is here is all that useful of an exercise.
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.
Comments from an anonymous team official suggest that Rangers right-hander Tyson Ross will not be expected to join the rotation until May or June, per a report from Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Both Ross and GM Jon Daniels favor a conservative approach for the 29-year-old as he works his way back up to full health after undergoing surgery last October to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.
The delay is reportedly being implemented so that Ross will be have the strength and stamina to contribute during the stretch run. Per Daniels:
We would rather err on a little extra time up front with the goal being to finish strong, pitching in big spots, meaningful games down the stretch and hopefully past 162.
Ross signed a one-year deal with the team on Thursday after pitching through an injury-riddled season with the Padres in 2016. If all goes according to plan, he’ll slot into a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Andrew Cashner and Martin Perez. The Rangers are expected to narrow down their fifth starter alternatives in spring training.