Matthew Artus of the Star-Ledger is a bit concerned about the guy the Mets will presumably hire as their next GM:
Should the Mets coerce Alderson to become the Answer to all the questions left behind by Omar Minaya, they would also make him the oldest General Manager in the game by 4 years . . . When I look around the front offices of MLB now and see the young guns like Theo Epstein of Boston, Jon Daniels of Texas, or Andrew Friedman of Tampa Bay succeeding where the Mets perpetually fail, my first instinct emphasizes the age. It’s not because I need their agile frames to hit fastballs, but rather the youthful perspective that can ideally inject some life into a morose franchise.
Artus goes on to wonder if the Mets aren’t simply hiring a big name to appease fans as opposed to finding “the next great baseball GM.”
This seems off to me. Sure, the trend is to find a young guy with a fresh perspective, but a pretty strong argument can be made that every single one of the guys Artus names above — and indeed, every new GM in the past decade or so — is either a direct or at least an intellectual heir to Sandy Alderson.
Baseball’s young guns? In a sense, Alderson taught them all. He was the first of the new breed of ivy league guys who rejected the old conventional wisdom and thought it a positive thing, as opposed to a threat, to surround himself with the best and brightest he could find. The Mets should hire someone from “the new breed?” Alderson bred them for cryin’ out loud. He’s Yoda to their Luke. He’s Ramius to their Tupolev. He’s Felson to their Lauria.
We should worry about this choice? Damn, man, this is the first time in ages the Mets seem to be set on making the absolute best choice possible. Let’s give them credit for it rather than wring our hands.
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.