The Padres acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds today as part of their massive haul for Mat Latos, which has led many to wonder whether prospect first baseman Anthony Rizzo will become a trade chip.
With that in mind, Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio this afternoon that the plan right now is for Alonso to play first base at the major league level and Rizzo to continue his development in the minors.
Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade last December, made his major league debut this past season and batted just .141 with one home run and 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats. However, it’s way too soon to call the 22-year-old a bust, as many still like him for his patience and power potential. In fact, Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s top prospect earlier this week. Of course, it’s possible new GM Josh Byrnes views him differently than Jed Hoyer did.
The Padres have no sense of urgency to deal Rizzo right away, but most seem to think a trade is inevitable. This is just speculation for now, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote this afternoon that some wonder whether Rizzo would make sense in a package for Rays’ right-hander Wade Davis. The 26-year-old right-hander signed a four-year, $12.6 million extension earlier this year which includes a series of affordable club options from 2015-2017.
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.