Acquired from the Brewers for Chris Dickerson three weeks ago, Jim Edmonds played just nine games for the Reds before being sidelined by an oblique injury and the 40-year-old said yesterday that he’s now leaning toward retiring after the season:
I’m leaning toward shutting it down and being a family man again. I’ve made my mark. I’ve done as much as I can do as an everyday player.
Edmonds will try to get healthy enough to contribute to the Reds down the stretch and into October, but told Milwaukee reporters that he misses playing for the Brewers:
I had a blast there. I miss it, actually. It’s been a bit of a tough transition. It’s never easy to leave guys that you’ve spent four months with. I can’t say enough about the front office, the fans. It’s a great place to play. It’s a first-class organization all the way through. They made it comfortable for me and my family. You can’t beat it.
He also revealed that Brewers manager Ken Macha talked him out of calling it quits just prior to the trade, with Edmonds saying “it was the only thing that kept me going.”
Edmonds has played remarkably well this season considering he’s 40 years old, sat out all of last season after failing to find an interested team, and has struggled with various injuries. He’s hit .277/.337/.481 with nine homers and 23 doubles in 264 plate appearances, and his .818 OPS ranks fourth among NL center fielders with at least 250 trips to the plate.
I’m fairly certain Edmonds won’t come close to getting the votes necessary for the Hall of Fame, but he has a very good case and is perhaps one of the most underrated players of this era. He’s an eight-time Gold Glove winner with 391 career homers and a .902 lifetime OPS that ranks 10th all time among center fielders. Few people seem to recognize it, but Edmonds is likely one of the dozen best center fielders in baseball history.
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.