UPDATE: I received a call from someone with the Greenberg group. They couldn’t explicitly comment because of confidentiality agreements, but they deny the report that there is anything amiss with financing and say that everything is going just fine.
Fair enough. The way it breaks down right now, however, is that I have a source I trust and who has no dog in the hunt telling me that there are issues with the financing. I have a party with an undeniable interest in the matter telling me that all is hunky dory. Absent anything new, I am going to stick with the report as it currently stands. Greenberg has a window to negotiate. If he has a deal at the end of all of this, we’ll know that, ultimately, there weren’t any problems (or at least the problems were overcome). If it falls through, we’ll know differently.
3:02 P.M.: A source is telling me that that the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group’s bid for the Rangers is in trouble. Money trouble, specifically, as in they’re having problems putting financing together and it has Major League Baseball concerned that the bid may not be viable. Tom Hicks — who stands to be a minority stakeholder in the Greenberg group and desperately needs to sell the team to save his Hicks Sports Group — is freaking out.
You’ll recall that Greenberg’s group beat out the MLB-favored bid led by former agent Dennis Gilbert and the reportedly highest bid by Houston businessman Jim Crane. What they won was an exclusive negotiating window. It may have been the Hicks/Nolan Ryan factor more than the merits of the bid that won the day, however, because even before this report there were whispers that Greenberg, while a great minor league operator, may not have the financial wherewithal to pull this off.
If the Greenberg bid falls through, it’s back to square one. Specifically, it would mean that the Rangers would be left with Gilbert, for whom Nolan Ryan said he would not work, and Crane,
who everyone who matters in Major League baseball hates because he reneged on a previous bid for a team (UPDATE: Apparently hatchets, to the extent they ever were wielded along these lines have been buried. I missed this over the weekend. Apologies).
Merry Christmas Rangers fans!
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.