The Phillies are officially on the hook for $11 million in 2015, as Jimmy Rollins’ option became guaranteed with his second plate appearance in tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks. Per Rollins’ contract, details of which you can see at Cot’s Contracts, Rollins’ 2015 option became guaranteed by accruing 1,100 plate appearances between the 2013-14 seasons. He had 666 last season and just hit 434 this season. Conversely, had Rollins missed time due to injuries last season, the option would have also become guaranteed with 600 plate appearances this season, which he also seems likely to achieve.
The only way the Phillies will be free of the commitment is if Rollins ends the 2014 season on the disabled list and a mutually agreed-upon doctor doesn’t deem him available for Opening Day in 2015.
The $11 million commitment for 2015 is yet another obstacle if Phillies GM Ruben Amaro intends to trade Rollins. Rollins has already said he won’t waive his 10-and-5 rights, but even if they somehow convinced him to do so, there many not be many takers willing to pay a 36-year-old shortstop $11 million.
Rollins entered the night with a .243/.326/.398 slash line with 13 home runs, 45 RBI, and 19 stolen bases. He has flied out and grounded out to third in two trips to the dish tonight against D-Backs starter Wade Miley.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
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.