Jon Heyman’s latest column ranks the potential Prince Fielder post-free agency destinations. In order: the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers, Nationals, Dodgers, Brewers Mariners Cardinals and Marlins.
Question: would Prince Fielder really want to go to most of these teams? The O’s, Cubs, Mariners and Marlins are in the competitive wilderness right now. The Dodgers are broke. The Cardinals would be intriguing, but they happen to have a first base free agent they’d likely prefer to keep. The Nationals are likewise intriguing in that they’re probably closer to competitiveness than the other losing teams, but they’re not exactly poised to win now. Not yet.
The Rangers are the most interesting name in that they’re a winning team and one who has signed big names before, but I don’t know that we have anything close to a clear idea if they’ll be a big player in free agency. A new TV deal in place could mean that they’ll spend more, but not necessarily.
I guess what I’m seeing here is that, with the Yankees and Red Sox likely not a big player for a first baseman, the market is as murky as hell. Assuming that like most free agents, Prince Fielder wants to play for a winner, there’s no clear-cut destination. Some teams may win, some teams may pay, but it’s hard to identify anyone who would do both.
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.