The Braves were "thrilled" to do the Vazquez deal

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Maybe it’s not how they drew it up, but Mark Bowman* of MLB.com reports that the Braves were getting very little interest in Vazquez outside of the Yankees as no one outside of his no-trade clause (i.e. the NL and AL West) was willing to pay $10M+ for a pitcher while giving up any talent in exchange. Sure, maybe the Braves could have eaten some salary, but if they were going to do that they would have done so with Lowe.  Like it or not, the team has a budget.

So as it stands, Bowman reports, “the Braves were thrilled when the Yankees were interested enough in
Vazquez to highlight this five-player trade with the inclusion of
Arodys Vizcaino . . .”

I’ll admit that my biggest problem with handicapping deals is that I focus too much on whether the players/money that comes back is useful for the receiving team and not enough on whether the deal is, you know, fair. Cabrera, Vizcaino and the cash are useful for the Braves. They’re not equal in value to Vazquez.

But at the same time, many people who focus on how uneven this or any other trade is often fail to acknowledge that this isn’t the stock market and there aren’t always optimal, equitable deals to be had.  Sure, sometimes maybe you do no deal before doing a bad one, but it’s probably worth remembering that the business of trading and signing players is closer to an art than a science.

*Bowman notes in his post that he spent part of yesterday driving on “the twists and turns on West Virginia’s mountainous turnpike.”  As a proud product of Exit 48 I envy him. There isn’t a better road to haul ass on east of the Mississippi than the stretch between Charleston and Beckley. 

Josh Hamilton has knee surgery, out 2-3 months

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.

As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:

That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.

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.