Report: Angels re-sign Abreu to two-year deal

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Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have re-signed Bobby Abreu to a two-year contract with a team option for 2012.
No word yet on the money involved, but Abreu said that he’s “very happy to sign this contract” after settling for a one-year deal worth just $5 million in guaranteed money as a free agent last offseason.
What’s interesting about Abreu getting a multi-year contract now is that his production this season was basically the same as it’s been every season. He hit .293/.390/.435 with 15 homers, 30 steals, 103 RBIs, and 96 runs in 152 games for the Angels compared to .296/.371/.471 with 20 homers, 22 steals, 100 RBIs, and 100 runs in 156 games during his final season in New York.
There’s no real difference between those two seasons, and if anything Abreu was slightly worse this year because of a drop in power. Plus, now he’s 35 years old instead of 34. So why was he only worth a one-year deal for modest money last season, yet is now worth a two-year deal that will almost surely pay more annually? Perception. Abreu was viewed as merely a cog in the Yankees’ machine, whereas this season he’s been given a ton of credit for being a driving force behind the Angels’ improved offense.
We’ll have more analysis of the Abreu signing once the financial details are revealed.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.