Report: Joe Torre would listen if Mets came calling

8 Comments

You just knew this was coming.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, “a person close to” Joe Torre says the Mets might be the “only team” that could lure the 70-year-old away from retirement.

“The
Mets are certainly an inviting situation because they have a lot better
personnel than their record shows,” the person close to Torre said.
“The injuries have hurt them.”

“Money
shouldn’t be a factor for the Mets if they really want [Torre],” the
person close to Torre said. “You look at what their attendance figures
are, and I’m sure Joe would build some excitement among the fans, which
is definitely needed there.”

Just the other day, Jon Heyman of SI.com told us that the Mets see ticket sales as a key issue,
so the possibility shouldn’t be discounted entirely. According to Puma,
Wally Backman remains the favorite to be the Mets’ next manager, but
some question whether he is ready to lead a major league team. One
scenario, Puma reports, is that Backman would be groomed for the job as a
bench coach to Torre, similar to Don Mattingly in Los Angeles.

Hiring
Torre would certainly create some temporary buzz in New York, but he
wouldn’t re-invigorate the fanbase like Bobby Valentine would, nor does
he have any of that fiery, impassioned spiritedness that many columnists
claim the Mets so desperately need. Besides, the Mets aren’t likely to be a contender next season and they will probably balk at his asking price.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.