Victor Martinez swinging

Report: the Tigers are close to signing Victor Martinez

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A report from Ignacio Serrano of ESPN Deportes has the Tigers on the verge of signing Victor Martinez for four-years, $50 million. Serrano says that it’s all but done and is pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal is confirming the report.

Rosenthal adds that the Tigers outbid the Red Sox (which we discussed the other day), the White Sox and the Orioles. The Red Sox offer was two-years, $21 million. It’s unclear if the Orioles or White Sox came closer in terms of dollars or years.  And the years may be more important for Martinez.  He was more emotional when he was traded away from Cleveland last year than any player in that situation that I can recall.  He appears to really value stability and keeping family close, and the ability for him to stay in one place — at least theoretically speaking — is probably high on his list.

As for the Tigers: Martinez would certainly be valuable as a middle-of-the-order bat and, as everyone is obligated to note when discussing him, having him around gives them added flexibility.  He won’t be playing a ton of first base in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera hanging around, but he will certainly be useful shuttling between catcher and DH and can spell Cabrera at first when necessary.  What this deal also seems to do is to take the Tigers out of the running for Adam Dunn. That is, unless Detroit is silly enough to put him Comerica Park’s left field.  If they thought Johnny Damon was an adventure out there, just wait until they get a load of Dunn’s “range.”

(link and translation via Bless You Boys)

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.