According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Athletics are close to signing free agent outfielder Coco Crisp to a one-year contract worth between $4.5 million-5 million.
The Padres also expressed interest in the 30-year-old outfielder, but
Crisp elected to join Oakland’s crowded outfield, instead. I’m guessing
it’s for the contract security, which also reportedly includes an
option for 2011.
Crisp batted .228/.336/.378 with
three home runs, 14 RBI, 14 stolen bases and 30 runs scored in 49 games
for the Royals in ’09 before undergoing season-ending rotator cuff
surgery on both shoulders. He is expected to be ready in time for
spring training. Crisp is a .277/.331/.407 career hitter over eight
major league seasons.
It’s a pretty odd move by general
manager Billy Beane with Rajai Davis coming off a tremendous second
half and with plenty of quality outfielders already in the
organization. Crisp hasn’t played a single game outside center field
since 2005, so now Davis will likely move to a corner spot, with Scott
Hairston and Ryan Sweeney filling in around them.
Beane had talked about prospect Chris Carter playing some outfield,
but he may find himself back at first base after the signing of Crisp.
Don’t forget that the Athletics also traded Brett Wallace to the Blue
Jays in exchange for prospect outfielder Michael Taylor last week.
Taylor, 24, batted .282/.359/.491 with five home runs and 19 RBI in 128
at-bats at the Triple-A level last season and isn’t that far from making a splash
on the major league level. He’s almost surely destined to be a corner
outfielder, but hopefully Beane won’t block his progress.
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.