Stubborn Uggla doesn't want to budge

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While it seems as though most of his suitors view him as a third baseman or outfielder, Dan Uggla isn’t interested in moving off second base, his agent told Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown.

“Danny Uggla’s been a full-time second baseman for the last four years,” agent Jeff Borris said. “He’s performed exceptionally well at that position. Although he has the athleticism to play other positions, he’s performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.”

Of course, Uggla is pretty much universally regarded as a below average second baseman. UZR has actually rated him above average in two of his four seasons, but it had him at -10 runs last season. Luis Castillo was the only full-time second baseman to grade out worse. Overall, UZR has him three runs below average per year. Uggla commits more errors than the typical second baseman, and he’s simply not very fast. He is surprisingly strong on double plays, but he’s only going to get slower as he ages.
Money is the big reason most players resist moves to easier positions, but Uggla has little to lose here. He’s still two years away from free agency, and by the time 2012 rolls around, it’s doubtful that any team is going to give him a long-term contract to start second base. He’d almost surely be better off if he’s settled in at third or in left field by then.
There’s also the fact that second basemen, generally, don’t make a lot of money. Bret Boone (remember him?) was the last free agent second baseman to land a contract worth more than $25 million. Castillo got $25 million from the Mets two years ago, and the team regretted the signing before the ink was even dry. Chase Utley and Brian Roberts are the only second basemen currently making more than approx. $7.5 million that Uggla figures to earn in arbitration next year. Second basemen tend to be plentiful and cheap in free agency. They also often age badly. Many will likely see Uggla as a poor investment as a second baseman in two years.
Uggla has been connected with the Giants and Orioles as a possibility at third and the Braves and Red Sox as a left fielder. No one, though, has been talking about picking him up to play second base. The 29-year-old might as well take the hint.

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)
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.