Not sure how many people believed it would happen, but Stephen Strasburg has indeed agreed to sign with the Nationals.
While you’re contemplating how good he will be, here is a look at the numbers …
$15.1 million: The amount (not including incentives) the Nationals will pay Strasburg in his four-year contract. That’s about $5 million more than the previous record, as Mark Prior received $10.5 million in 2001.
11:58:43 p.m.: The time when the sides agreed to the deal, according to Nationals president Stan Kasten. The deadline was 12:01 a.m.
195: Number of strikeouts Strasburg compiled last season at San Diego State. They came in 109 innings, with a 1.32 ERA.
102: The number, in miles-per-hour, that Strasburg can throw his fastball. Also the number of losses the Nationals suffered in 2008.
103: The number of losses the Nats are on pace to compile in 2009. Can they get him in uniform fast enough?
2010: The year Bryce “The Chosen One” Harper goes No. 1 in the draft. Wondering if the Nats can afford both of these guys?
If you Twitter, and you can hit 102 mph on the radar gun, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.