Jonathan Papelbon has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies. Could David Ortiz be the next to leave Boston?
Don’t count on it. Based on what Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters (via WEEI.com) following a press conference for managerial candidate Torey Lovullo earlier today, there’s still plenty of optimism about re-signing him.
“We have had a lot of dialogue with David and his agents,” Cherington said. “Because of what I feel, and I think he feels, is a little bit more of a defined market for that role it’s been easier to engage sooner. It’s probably less likely to be a situation where he gets into the market and there’s something that he’s pushed into a corner on. David knows we want him to be here. We want him to be back with the Red Sox. We want him in our lineup. We’ve had a lot of dialogue to see if there’s a way to do that and I think that will continue.”
There was some silly stuff late last month about Ortiz potentially having National League suitors, but most sane people agree he will almost certainly continue his career as a designated hitter in the American League. And that severely limits the market for Ortiz, who turns 36 years old next week, by the way. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com wrote this morning that the Red Sox want to determine whether they can re-sign Ortiz before perhaps turning to Carlos Beltran or Michael Cuddyer, so we can probably expect a quick resolution here.
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.