If that headline sounds familiar it’s because I used one remarkably like it two weeks ago. Then, as now, I do so in response to a Bob Klapisch column. Then, as now, Kalpisch is using his column in a desperate effort to make Derek Jeter into some kind of anti-PEDs hero.
Two weeks ago he did so via comparison between Jeter and A-Rod. Today Klapisch actually tries to get Jeter to say all of the anti-PEDs things he likes to say. To get Jeter to come out firing against A-Rod and everyone who uses PEDs, whom he refers to as “baseball’s felons” (yes, really). The best/worst part: there’s a desperate fanboy element to it all which is almost embarrassing:
That’s why I asked the captain about his message to young fans about steroids — specifically whether he’ll use the farewell tour to renounce performance-enhancing drugs once and for all . . . All it would take is a few words from Jeter about the dangers of using PEDs — to one’s career, health and reputation — and he’d likely get through to some kid on the fence.
And of course Jeter doesn’t do that. Because there is absolutely zero in his history or what we know of his character that would inspire him to put himself out there on a controversial subject like this. He is far too smart for that and, based on his very words, both in the past and here, explains that he is not going to do it. Yet, despite him not taking Klapisch’s bait, Klap concludes thusly:
I have no doubt Jeter disapproves of both players’ use of PEDs and the lies they’ve told along the way.
He has to believe that. To not believe that may cause him to question whether the guy he thinks is some cross between God and Superman has a nuanced thought about a topic that isn’t nearly as black and white as Klapisch likes to claim it is.
I really can’t recall when I’ve ever seen a more blatant instance of a baseball writer projecting like Klapisch is projecting here. It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for him.
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.