MLB recently granted an extension for the Mets to come to terms on a new contract with Hisanori Takahashi, but David Waldstein of the New York Times reported late this afternoon that the two sides were unable to reach a deal.
Takahashi just confirmed the report in a statement from his new agent Arn Tellem (via Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com).
“Unfortunately, the Mets and I were not able to reach an agreement prior to the expiration of our negotiating deadline,” Takahashi said in a statement released by his agent. “I am grateful to the Mets for the opportunity to start my Major League Baseball career with such a great franchise. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New York City and want to thank all the Mets fans for their support. I am now looking forward to exploring my options as a free agent.
Because of a clause in Takahashi’s original contract with the club, the left-hander will be granted his release tomorrow. Per MLB rules, he is unable to re-sign with the Mets until May 15, which all but guarantees that he will end up elsewhere.
As Aaron wrote earlier today, Takahashi was hoping to land a three-year contract worth around $5 million per season, but the Mets were only willing to guarantee one year.
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.