UPDATE: John Farrell informed Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe via text message this morning that “nothing is official” regarding his hiring as the Blue Jays’ new manager. All indications are pointing in that direction, though.
8:43 AM: One source told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that “it would be surprising” if Farrell turned down the job. Barring a breakdown in negotiations, look for an official announcement before the World Series begins on Wednesday.
9:26 PM, Friday: We hinted at the possibility yesterday and now it appears that the Blue Jays have come to a decision on a replacement for Cito Gaston.
Multiple industry sources tell Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell has been offered the Blue Jays’ manager job. The only thing that stands in the way of making this official is for the two sides to agree on a contract.
McAdam reported earlier today that Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale and Sandy Alomar Jr. were informed that they were out of the running for the job. By process of elimination, it looks like the decision ultimately came down to Farrell and Blue Jays third base Brian Butterfield.
Farrell has no previous managerial experience, but he has served as Red Sox pitching coach since 2007 and previously worked as the Director of Player Development with the Indians from 2001-06.
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.