UPDATE: Now that the Rule 5 draft is over the player to be named later has been revealed as Double-A right-hander Daniel Turpen, a side-arming reliever who’s a marginal prospect at best.
Kevin Slowey, who fell out of favor in Minnesota after being demoted from the rotation to the bullpen in spring training, has been traded to Colorado for a player to be named later.
Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the deal will become official later today.
Slowey was a solid mid-rotation starter for the Twins from 2007-2010, throwing 473 innings with a 4.41 ERA, but he was perhaps unfairly dumped from the rotation in favor of weaker options and then balked at becoming a full-time reliever.
Minnesota has been shopping him since March, so the player to be named later figures to be of minimal value. Slowey is under team control for two more seasons and will likely be in line for around $3 million via the arbitration process despite spending most of the season on the disabled list or in the minors and going 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in 59 innings for the Twins.
When healthy and happy in his role Slowey is very capable of throwing 175 innings with a four-something ERA and excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios, but as an extreme fly-ball pitcher without overpowering raw stuff Coors Field is probably the worst possible home for him.
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.