I don’t know why Bobby Valentine and the Marlins went sideways. As I said yesterday, I’m still rather surprised we haven’t yet seen a behind-the-scenes report from one of the usual insidery writers like Heyman or Rosenthal or whoever about what happened over the past week. In the absence of that we’re stuck with guesses and — oh yes — gossip.
I don’t even have any first hand gossip on it (which itself is kind on an oxymoron) but there’s a blog down in Miami called City of Champions that claims to have sources who know what went down with Bobby V. and the Feesh. The whole post is here. The three main reasons cited:
- Bobby V. asked the Marlins to commit to increased payroll. They balked, and even wouldn’t rule out keeping Hanley Ramirez for the long term;
- Bobby V. asked for a lot of money for himself, more so than Jeff Loria even thought he might; and
- Finally — and this is the most interesting — the Marlins are “infatuated” with Ozzie Guillen and, according to CoC’s sources, “there is no chance he’s returning [to the White Sox] next season” so the Marlins may be carrying a torch for the guy.
Again: I just met the City of Champions blog, so I can’t vouch for any of that. All I can say is that at least the first two bullet points seem plausible, and the third, while maybe not quite as plausible — how can the Sox fire Guillen if the Sox remain respectable this year? — is not totally insane. The most I can say is that City of Champions has passed along other Marlins rumors in the past and, based on their self-reported track record, they’ve hit for a pretty decent average.
Maybe none of this is true, but I really don’t see any reason why, in a world in which we all pass along every Heyman, Olney and Rosenthal blind item, we can’t pass this one along as well.
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.