Update: Brown reports that the Reds have agreed to terms with Cabrera on a one-year, $3 million contract with a $3 million option for 2011. According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, there’s a $1 million buyout on the second year.
Saturday 6:33 pm: Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports hears that Orlando Cabrera is leaning towards choosing the Reds over the Rockies, with a deal likely done today.
Cabrera would have a better chance to win in Colorado, but with Troy Tulowitzki as the starting shortstop, he’d have to accept a part-time role with the club, most likely at second base, a position he hasn’t played regularly since 1998. The Reds love Paul Janish’s glove at shortstop (he only played 82 games at the position last season, but led all shortstops in UZR/150), but don’t think they can shoulder his meager offensive production over the course of a full season.
As Cincinnati emerges as the clear favorite for Cabrera, Troy Renck of the Denver Post tells us that the Rockies are a finalist for free agent infielder Melvin Mora. The Mariners and Rangers are also rumored to have interest in the 37-year-old. Mora has only played third base since the 2004 season, but the Rockies believe he could also play second base and outfield. He served a similar utility role with the Mets and in his early days with the Orioles.
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.