Reds GM Walt Jocketty told John Fay yesterday that Aroldis Chapman may one day be the Reds’ closer:
“We would still leave (starting) as an option,” Jocketty said. “He definitely could be a top-of-the-rotation guy. He’s either going to have to do that or be a closer. I don’t see him being a set-up guy forever.”
Whatever. I don’t know when the meeting was held in which everyone decided that closers were more valuable than starters, but I’d really like to see the minutes. Because at some point in that meeting, someone must have stood up and yelled “People! If you have a talented pitcher, he should start games unless and until he shows he can’t hack it for some reason! Then and only then should he be stuck in the bullpen, because it’s not in your best interest to use your better pitchers in fewer innings!”
People love that Chapman and Neftali Feliz and before them Joba Chamberlin and any number of other guys like them can throw it hard and shut people down, so they somehow assume they should be doing it out of the pen. I don’t get it. It’s almost as if it’d be better if they were less impressive just before reaching the majors so that their teams wouldn’t be inclined to shove them in the big league bullpen for a playoff run, which in turn causes everyone to forget that they were once quality starting pitching prospects.
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.