Earlier today, it sounded like the Padres were going to have Felipe Lopez for the stretch drive. Not anymore.
According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, Lopez has “vetoed” the Padres’ waiver claim and signed on to play a meaningless week of baseball with the Red Sox, instead.
Lopez, 30, was released by the Cardinals this week after batting just .231/.310/.340 with seven home runs, 36 RBI and eight stolen bases over 376 at-bats. The team initially said he was released in order to play some of their younger players, however Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak later admitted that Lopez repeatedly showed up late to games.
It’s certainly an odd match, especially with the Padres in the middle of a pennant race, but one industry source tells Miller that the Red Sox signed him with the idea of a compensatory draft pick in mind. You see, Lopez currently projects to be a Type B free agent this winter. Should the Red Sox offer him arbitration and see him sign with another team, they would receive a supplemental pick in next year’s draft.
There’s always the chance that Lopez will accept arbitration, given that he doesn’t have the best reputation around the game, but at least the Red Sox have several weeks to mull over the possibility.
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.