The big teams like the Yankees and Dodgers bite their tongues and pay their revenue sharing money out to the Pirates and Royals of the world because, well, that’s the system we have. They may not bite their tongues much longer, though, because they really, really don’t like paying a large-market team like the Nationals — which Forbes Magazine rates as the second most profitable team in baseball — that kind of scratch. Tom Boswell:
As Washington’s obvious promise has been thwarted by its gruesome
won-lost reality, resentment toward the way the Nats do business,
already prevalent in Washington, is now spreading through the game . . . “You’re probably going to see revenue-sharing reform pretty soon,” an
American League executive said. “It’s usually small-market teams like
Pittsburgh that are the issue” . . . But the Bucs have an excuse: Their metropolitan market — like Denver,
Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City and Milwaukee — is less
than half Washington’s size (No. 9 in the United States).
Given the financial disparities in the game, some form of revenue sharing is essential. But a system that rewards a team with huge welfare checks for keeping its payroll lower than its market and revenue would rationally dictate (and losing tons of ballgames in the process) is not a sustainable one.
I suspect that the “revenue-sharing reform” Boswell’s source is talking about would take the form of requiring any teams receiving checks to spend the money on players as opposed to simply pocketing it and declaring a profit like the Nats and Pirates do every year. Such a thing might be hard to implement and could lead to a huge battle between baseball’s high payroll and low payroll teams. It’s a battle worth fighting, however. Because if the high payroll teams win it, more teams will be putting more resources into their product on the field. In that case, we as fans win too.
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.