Carl Pavano was the final Type A free agent left on the board. And now that he has re-signed with the Twins, the first-round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft is officially set.
Courtesy of Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, let’s take a look at the field:
1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. Seattle Mariners
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Kansas City Royals
6. Washington Nationals
7. Arizona Diamondbacks (for unsigned Loux)
8. Cleveland Indians
9. Chicago Cubs
10. San Diego Padres (for unsigned Whitson)
11. Houston Astros
12. Milwaukee Brewers
13. New York Mets
14. Florida Marlins
15. Milwaukee Brewers (for unsigned Covey)
16. Los Angeles Dodgers
17. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
18. Oakland Athletics
19. Boston Red Sox (from Tigers for Victor Martinez)
20. Colorado Rockies
21. Toronto Blue Jays
22. St. Louis Cardinals
23. Washington Nationals (from White Sox for Adam Dunn)
24. Tampa Bay Rays (from Red Sox for Carl Crawford)
25. San Diego Padres
26. Boston Red Sox (from Rangers for Adrian Beltre)
27. Cincinnati Reds
28. Atlanta Braves
29. San Francisco Giants
30. Minnesota Twins
31. Tampa Bay Rays (from Yankees for Rafael Soriano)
32. Tampa Bay Rays
33. Texas Rangers (from Phillies for Cliff Lee)
Because Barret Loux, Karsten Whitson and Dylan Covey were unsigned, there will be 33 selections in the first-round, the most ever.
Felipe Lopez, the final Type B free agent who was offered arbitration by his former club, has yet to sign a contract this offseason, so the supplemental first-round portion of the draft may still change.
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.