2:46 P.M.: Jeff Blair of the Toronto Globe and Mail is confirming that it is indeed the Reds. Given how late the Jays were in the hunt, they, and thus he, would probably be in a position to know. UPDATE: Jeff Passan, who had the original report, confirms as well.
1:56 P.M: Surprise! It looks like it’s the Reds. Passan first narrowed it down to an NL Central team and then adds that a flight left Ft. Lauderdale for Cincinnati this morning. A source tells Passan it’s a $30 mil. deal over five years. Stay tuned for confirmation.
12:42 P.M.: There’s a tweet circulating from someone claiming to be Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that says the following:
Cuban LHP Aroldis
Chapman agrees to $30M deal with National League team, according to
source. Left Ft. Lauderdale airport this a.m. to sign.
I’m posting this with the caveat that the account was just created and people have been burned with similar reports in the past.
Just a little background while we wait on the validity of this report, the Blue Jays and Angels have emerged as the front-runners for the Cuban left-hander in recent weeks. The Marlins made an offer to Chapman, but hoped that South Florida, and not cash, could make the difference in negotiations. The Reds were floated as a possibility by Ken Rosenthal as recently as Friday.
Update: Apologies to Passan, as the account appears to be real. In a report for Yahoo! Sports, Passan has no update on the possible team, but writes that the Astros and Nationals sent their general managers to the workout for Houston last month. He also notes that the Mets and recently, the Reds have expressed interest in the 21-year-old southpaw.
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.