Earlier today I made a comment about how talk radio would go crazy on Javier Vazquez. I haven’t listened to any New York talk radio today to see if they have, but regardless, I owe the radio people an apology for suggesting that they have a monopoly on overreaction. Web writers are just as capable of ridiculous hyperbole. Here’s Greg Cohen from Sliding into Home:
I think it’s time we accept that Javier Vazquez might just be gutless bitch who can’t handle New York or
the American League.
Vazquez has been bad, no question. His velocity is down and because of it hitters are able to wait for slop and are teeing off on it. If it keeps up Joe Girardi is going to have to think about giving his starts to someone else. And yes, people can boo him if they want I suppose. I’m abandoning that crusade out of sheer futility.
But to suggest that the guy’s on-the-field failures are the result of some inherent character flaw or moral failing — in other words, to call someone a “gutless bitch” — seems way over the top to me. Save me the “you’re not from New York and you don’t know how it goes” business. This is just the most facile kind of analysis possible and it adds nothing to the party.
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.