When SI.com’s Jon Heyman first reported that the trade designed to send Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox was killed by a contract dispute, my reaction was: “Wow, that’s crazy.”
But it’s not crazy. Not at all.
In fact, both sides were right to balk.
Adrian Gonzalez hit .298/.393/.511 this past season with 31 home runs and 101 RBI while playing solid defense at the first base position. He’s 28 years old, talented as any first baseman in the league not named Pujols and looking to cash in on his impending free agency.
So when the Red Sox made a mandate Saturday that Gonzalez sign a long-term contract extension before finalizing the blockbuster five-player trade, he asked for a deal similar to the eight-year, $180 million behemoth that Mark Teixeira signed in December of 2008 with the Yankees.
Remember, the Red Sox helped drive up that Teixeira contract. But they’re not wrong for choosing to not pay it now.
Gonzalez will be a free agent next winter and the Yankees already have a body at first base. The Red Sox can wait another year, enter the highest bid against little competition, and get their man without offering up four quality prospects.
This baby was doomed from the start.
Intelligent baseball clubs usually work cautiously and pay attention to all the details. The Sox employ some of the top minds in the game and were right to stay level-headed in negotiations. They’ll bring Gonzalez aboard next year and keep their farm system from being depleted.
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.