UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears that a significant portion of Guerrero’s $8 million salary is deferred.
6:59 PM: Buster Olney of ESPN.com confirms his colleague’s initial report. It’s one-year, $8 million, pending a physical.
Interestingly, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun notes, the O’s payroll now sits at approximately $93 million, approximately $20 million more than last season.
You can’t say the Orioles aren’t trying to win, but unless their young pitchers take a huge leap forward this season, it’s hard to imagine them being a contender.
6:32 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun have both confirmed the signing, though they haven’t provided the exact terms of the deal.
6:08 PM: Well, it looks like Vlad won this staring contest.
According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, the Orioles have signed Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year, $8 million contract.
I’m curious to find out whether this figure includes potential incentives, but if not, this would mean that the Orioles ultimately bought Guerrero’s pitch that he had another $8 million offer on the table.
Guerrero is projected to be the regular designated hitter for the Orioles, moving Luke Scott to left field and Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie to the bench. The team’s defense will likely take a hit because of it, but their lineup now stacks up pretty well with the rest of the American League East.
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.