From ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Reds have signed outfielder Jay Bruce to a six-year, $51 million contract extension with a seventh-year club option that could bring the total worth of the deal to $63 million.
Bruce was a first-year arbitration-eligible player. He could have taken a path that would have meant negotiating raises year-to-year but that also provides a quicker path to free agency. Instead, he committed himself long-term to the Reds and will play out his prime years in Cincinnati.
The 23-year-old registered a rock solid .281/.353/.493 batting line, 25 home runs and 70 RBI in 2010 for the National League Central champion Reds. He took a bit longer than expected to fully develop, but he’s a real-deal run producer now and is likely to mash in Great American Ballpark throughout the course of the contract.
The Reds inked starter Bronson Arroyo to a three-year, $35 million extension earlier this month. They haven’t been too active on the free agent market, but at least the Red Legs are keeping their core intact.
Winning the NL Central in 2010 wasn’t a fluke and Cincy has all the pieces to do it again.
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.