It’s been a good six months since we’ve heard Mark Cuban say he wants to buy a Major League team. That’s gotta be some kind of record. The silence is over, however, as yesterday he said that, sure, he’d buy the Dodgers if they were up for sale. That’s a little premature inasmuch as the Dodgers aren’t for sale. At least not yet. We’re at least a year’s worth of McCourt ridiculousness away from that happening.
But as always, Cuban is an intriguing choice. He has cash, which is pretty helpful, and he’s shown that he’ll spend it in an effort to put a winner on the field or, in his case, the court (though his success in this department has faltered considerably in recent years). Baseball wants no part of him, however. Selig and his friends in ownership don’t like outspoken free thinkers around, and Cuban is definitely that. He’s well known for criticizing officiating and recently went on a “who cares about steroids” rant that, while pretty reasonable all things considered, isn’t the kind of thing baseball owners want to hear.
If the Dodgers did go up for sale, the owners would do whatever they could to thwart any attempt Cuban made to join their club. Probably with the help of Frank McCourt, who is a Selig-Reinsdorf guy and who would probably go out of his way to seek offers from people not named Mark Cuban if he was forced to sell the team.
But it’s fun to fantasize.
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.