Some weeks back David Ortiz loudly complained about an official scorer’s call that he felt (correctly) cost him a hit, made a point to publicly call out the scorer for not giving him a hometown call and then successfully appealed the call. He received a lot of criticism for that. But based on this story from Murray Chass, Ortiz’s offense against propriety was the public part of it, not the appeal, because he is not at all alone in asking for scoring decisions to be changed. Indeed, those numbers are on the way up since Joe Torre took over that particular bailiwick:
Torre said he didn’t know how many calls he had changed this season.
“Last year I overturned about one-fourth to one-third of the requests,” he said. What about specific numbers? “There were a lot. I’d rather not tell you that. The first year” – 2011 – “it was a workable number. It’s probably tripled.”
Chass spoke to other sources which confirm that one-third-to-one-fourth figure and which say there are probably fifty overturned calls each season, or perhaps as many as three or four a week.
If you can navigate around the introductory and, for him, obligatory old fogeyism, Chass has some interesting nuggets in there, both regarding the number of scoring changes which are made and Major League Baseball’s curiously cagey approach to questions about them. And, most importantly, one suggestion about the reason for the increase in the scoring changes: the MLBPA being pressured by agents to be more proactive in making such appeals.
I tend to agree with Chass here about the early months of the Tony Clark Administration not being all that impressive. I would hope this sort of thing isn’t a big priority for them and that agents’ desires and the interests of some players as opposed to all aren’t what’s running the show.
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.