Mets owner Fred Wilpon hinted otherwise earlier this month, however sources tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that the team will likely need a “big finish” in order for Omar Minaya to retain his job as general manager.
But that doesn’t mean Minaya is going to be fired. Because he is respected within the organization — and, uh, under contract for two more seasons — he will likely be reassigned to another position.
As far as potential replacements for Minaya, Heyman names former Padres general manager and current Yankees consultant Kevin Towers, as well as in-house candidates John Ricco and Wayne Krivsky. He calls veteran general manager Pat Gillick “an interesting thought if he’d do it,” though there’s nothing to suggest he’d be interested. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the possibility that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels could exercise the out-clause in his contract over the winter, but it would be awful tough to pry him away from what they’re building in Texas.
One candidate Heyman doesn’t name is Josh Byrnes, who was fired as general manager of the Diamondbacks in July. Not saying he should be the guy, necessarily, but a general housecleaning would probably boost the morale of Mets fans more than Ricco or Krivsky simply inheriting the job. Maybe this is unfair, but it would feel too much like Jim Duquette Part II.
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.