According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, the Phillies and Astros have a deal in place involving Roy Oswalt and are waiting for the 32-year-old right-hander to decide whether he wants to waive his no-trade clause.
Berman writes that the two sides “have agreed on the amount of money” that the Astros will eat from Oswalt’s contract and the players that the Phillies will be sending to Houston.
If the report is true and the deal is only pending Oswalt’s approval, our guess is that he goes. The Astros are a lost franchise and currently reside in fifth place in the National League Central. They need him to take his hefty contract elsewhere, and he’d be wise to jump at the opportunity to play for a contender.
Oswalt has a 3.42 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 129 innings this season. He is owed about $5 million for the rest of this season, $16 million for 2011 and he also carries a $16 million option for 2012. He wants that option picked up by the team that acquires him and that may be causing the hold-up. Oswalt will be 34 at the start of the 2012 season and he turns 35 during it. His numbers haven’t declined this season — in fact, he’s seen a bit of a resurgence — but the Phillies probably don’t want to pay for former Houston general manager Tim Purpura’s mistakes. He made a whole lot of them during his short stay with the club.
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.