Joel Sherman cites a source today telling him that, in the event the Mets aren’t able to land Cliff Lee, they’d be interested in Ted Lilly as a fallback position, more so than either Fausto Carmona or Roy Oswalt, each of whom have been rumored to have caught the Mets’ interest.
Setting aside the absurdity of lumping Carmona and Oswalt together in the fallback category (note: Roy Oswalt is still an excellent pitcher; Fausto Carmona is not), Lilly would be a nice pickup for anyone. His strikeout rate is down a bit this year, but he’s still been effective. His 2-6 record is deceptive inasmuch as he hasn’t gotten a lot of run support. He’s expensive, but he’s in his last year under contract. That all washes out to a nice addition for a team that isn’t totally strapped, in my view.
The question is whether the Cubs would truly be willing to part with him. With Zambrano now apparently out of the rotation for good someone has to pitch for Chicago. And they’re simply not the kind of team that ever truly waves the white flag and sells off players, no matter how dire things get.
The upshot: I think the Cubs would probably ask too much for Lilly for the Mets’ liking, and given that, while nice, he’s not a difference maker the way Cliff Lee would be, I have a hard time seeing the Mets and Cubs matching up on such a deal.
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.