If there’s one thing I’m convinced will happen this offseason it’s that Jorge De La Rosa will be significantly overpaid.
There have already been reports of the Yankees and Nationals viewing him as their “Plan B” for Cliff Lee and now Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review writes that De La Rosa–who pitched for new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle when they were together on the Rockies in 2008 and 2009– is Pittsburgh’s “top free agent target.”
I just don’t get it.
De La Rosa is certainly a solid enough pitcher, but it seems like teams are suddenly viewing him as a viable top-of-the-rotation starter and there’s been speculation that he could end up with a four- or even five-year deal. Which would be crazy for a 30-year-old pitcher with a 5.02 career ERA who has never posted an ERA below 4.20 or thrown 190 innings in a season.
De La Rosa turned his career around after being traded to the Rockies in 2008 and his three-year run in Colorado with a 4.49 ERA was impressive while calling Coors Field home, but then again he had a 4.19 ERA on the road during that time. He has good stuff and racks up lots of strikeouts, but also walked 4.1 batters per nine innings for the Rockies, hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and looks a whole lot more like a mid-rotation starter who’s likely to disappoint.
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.