When Vladimir Guerrero agreed to terms with the Rangers on Saturday
night, it dealt a heavy blow to the market for free agent outfielder
Jermaine Dye. The Rangers maintained dialogue with Dye even as
they negotiated with Guerrero, offering both similar base salaries in
the area of the $3-5 million. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas
Morning News, manager Ron Washington met with Dye in California as recently as Friday.
Dye, who turns 36 later this month, now finds himself in a free agent
market with few remaining opportunities. Let’s take a quick look at a couple
Yankees: The World Champions
have denied interest in the past and Dye wouldn’t really fit in their
outfield — he’s only played 27 games in left field in his career and
rates as one of the worst defensive outfielders in the major leagues — but he
would come at half the price of Johnny Damon and projects as a powerful
right-handed bat off the bench or insurance for the oft-injured Nick
Johnson. That said, the versatile Jerry Hairston
Jr. would probably be a better fit for the team’s needs.
Giants: Probably the most
logical destination for the California-native, the Giants may be
willing to live with his shoddy defense if it means he can add some
punch to their lineup. There are a lot of moving parts in San
Francisco, as Mark DeRosa could possibly play third base with Pablo
Sandoval sliding over to first base and the recently re-signed Juan
Uribe returning to a super utility role. As it stands right now, the
Giants are still trying to sign a first baseman (they’ve been linked to
Adam LaRoche), a plan that would likely send DeRosa to the
Braves: It’s a sentimental
choice since Dye was originally drafted by the Braves in 1993, but
don’t count on it happening. His addition would not only cripple their
defense, but it would make their lineup too right-handed. It would also
block top prospect Jason Heyward, who has primarily played right field
in the minor leagues.
As you can see, not much out there. Dye’s value couldn’t be much lower
after his second-half collapse, but remember that he has hit at least
24 home runs in six out of the last seven seasons. Someone will take a
chance on a rebound.
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.
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.