USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets “Brandon Webb’s
rehab is going well, but the Dbacks don’t plan to pick up his $8.5
million option. They will try to negotiate a 1-year deal.”
The problem with a 140-character limit is that it prevents a guy like Nightengale from explaining why a team would pass up on the chance at a healthy Webb for $6.5 million. And it is only $6.5, because if they decline the option they’re still on the hook for the $2 million buyout. Yes, the guy had surgery, but if he’s even remotely effective next year — and it’s not like he’s coming off of Tommy John surgery here — he’s a bargain at $6.5.
I suppose the Dbacks could know something about his health that we don’t know, but if so, why then would they be trying to do a 1-year deal rather than just letting him walk? And how much cheaper is that 1-year deal likely to be? If they screw him into the ground and no one else is interested, the best they can probably do is $3-4 million, right? If they do that and if he does turn in a bounce back season, they have effectively alienated one of the better pitchers in the NL over a lousy couple million bucks.
Nightengale was at the Dodger-Dbacks game last night so you have to figure he based this nugget on an actual conversation, but I still can’t help but think that Arizona will pick up the option.
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.