No official announcement has been made yet, but Clint Barmes told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that his new contract with the Pirates is a two-year, $10.5 million deal.
He’s expected to take a physical exam today, at which point it’ll be finalized and he’ll take over as Pittsburgh’s starting shortstop.
Barmes explained that he signed quickly because the Pirates “threw a great offer” his way whereas the Brewers wanted to wait until the Prince Fielder situation played out.
Barmes is right about the “great offer” part, as $10.5 million tops Jamey Carroll’s two-year, $6.75 million deal from the Twins and Mark Ellis’ two-year, $8.75 million deal from the Dodgers.
Barmes is younger than Carroll and Ellis, and more importantly he’s an elite defensive shortstop, but he’s also a career .230 hitter with a ghastly .270 on-base percentage and .360 slugging percentage away from Coors Field. Barmes was better than that in his first season since leaving the Rockies, hitting .244 with a .312 OBP and .386 slugging percentage, but clearly the Pirates are paying for his glove while hoping Barmes smacks 15 homers along with all that out-making.
And now the Brewers may be left turning back to an even more extreme out-maker without Barmes’ defensive skills in Yuniesky Betancourt.
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.