Edwin Jackson

No Rasmus, but the White Sox did OK in the Edwin Jackson deal

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Blue Jays acquired RHP Edwin Jackson and 3B-OF Mark Teahen from the White Sox for RHP Zach Stewart and RHP Jason Frasor.

We all know the Blue Jays have bigger plans here.  Oddly enough, though, there was a great deal of speculation last year when the White Sox picked up Edwin Jackson from the Diamondbacks that they were going to flip him to the Nationals for Adam Dunn.

Of course, it didn’t work out that way, and the Jackson-for-Daniel Hudson deal now looks like one of White Sox GM Ken Williams’ biggest missteps.  Jackson ended up going 11-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 30 starts for the White Sox, while Hudson is 17-7 with a 2.99 ERA in 32 starts for the Diamondbacks.  And Hudson is under control through 2016.

Other thoughts:

– The White Sox reportedly tried and failed to turn Jackson and Matt Thornton into Colby Rasmus.  The Blue Jays, though, think they can use Jackson to pull it off, and it may havel already happened.  Joe Strauss said it’ll be Jackson, Octavio Dotel and Mark Rzepczynski to St. Louis for Rasmus.

– The price to land Jackson was a solid pitching prospect in Zach Stewart, the supplemental first-round pick that Jason Frasor would have brought back had he left as a free agent and Mark Teahen’s contract, which still has about $7.25 million left on it.

So, I think the White Sox did pretty well here.  I’m assuming Williams exhausted the Rasmus possibility and couldn’t make it work.  He should have been able to get a better prospect than Stewart from another team, but finding someone else to take Teahen’s contract would have been difficult.  The Teahen signing was another one of Williams’ missteps.  Teahen was a below average regular in each of his last two seasons in Kansas City, yet Williams not only felt the need to trade for him, but he also gave him a three-year, $14 million deal before Teahen ever had an at-bat for the White Sox.

Now Williams has an extra $5.5 million for next year with Teahen off the books.  He can keep Frasor and the draft pick he’ll bring this winter or swap him for another prospect.  Stewart’s stock has fallen some, but I think he’ll turn into a very good reliever if put back into the bullpen.  The Blue Jays have been starting him since picking him up from the Reds in the Scott Rolen deal and he’ll be a candidate for the White Sox rotation next year, but I really feel he’d be best as an eighth-inning guy and maybe a possible closer down the line.

– The draft picks here are a wash.  Jackson and Frasor are both free agents after the season.  Frasor had to accept arbitration last year because no one wanted to sign him as a Type A free agent.  However, this year he projects as a Type B, meaning the team that signs him wouldn’t have to forfeit a pick.  Jackson, although he’s probably going to end up signing a deal worth $30 million or more, also projects as a Type B free agent.  The Jays last year traded for the Rockies’ Miguel Olivo after the season solely for the draft pick he’d bring when he left as a free agent, and they’re more attuned to draft pick compensation than most teams in baseball.  That wasn’t really a factor here, though.

– Perhaps the biggest plus for the White Sox here is simply that Ken Williams gets to turn the page.  This year has been a disaster for his reputation, given Hudson’s emergence as a top-flight pitcher and the epic failures of high-priced acquisitions Adam Dunn and Alex Rios.  There’s still hope for Dunn and Rios, but Jackson wasn’t going to be brought back next year and Teahen, while not useless, wasn’t about to stop being overpaid.  There are probably more dominoes to fall, and it will be interesting to see if he decides to further remake the 2012 team by shipping off either John Danks or Gavin Floyd next.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.