UPDATE II: Never mind. Seems the Nats are out.
UPDATE: All kinds of mixed news on this Cliff Lee/Nats stuff. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that, according to a Major League source, the Nationals are going to offer Lee a seven year deal and that the Yankees will not go seven. Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, however, just followed that up by saying that, while negotiation might happen and the Nats could make a big offer, “a seven year offer won’t be made.”
Either way, I think it’s important to remember one thing here: even if the Nats did go seven years, there’s nothing to suggest so far that it would be bigger on a dollars-per-year basis as a six-year deal the Yankees could offer. The upshot: this is all fun, but let’s not get too crazy until we hear numbers attached to this stuff.
10:02 A.M.: Buster Olney just tweeted that there is “growing speculation among rival agents and executives that Nats are going to throw a HUGE number at Cliff Lee.”
Like I said earlier this morning, I can’t really see Lee wanting to go to Washington. But of course, I couldn’t see Werth wanting to go to Washington either. And I couldn’t see Washington going all Dr. Evil and offering billions of dollars to free agents for some damn reason either.
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.