Blue Jays' Lawrie acknowledges cheering crowds after he hit a walk off home run to beat the Red Sox in the eleventh inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto

The Mariners tried to trade Michael Pineda for Brett Lawrie

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The Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero trade was pretty cool in that we don’t see tons of young-pitcher-for-young-slugger trades that don’t involve payroll things, impending free agency or any of that.  But it could have been way cooler. Well, at least if you’re a Mariners fan.

As Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail reports, the Blue Jays — who have been criticized by some for not doing anything big this offseason — defended themselves yesterday by noting that they avoided doing something big — and dumb — a couple of weeks ago:

They squandered some of that currency and Monday was an attempt to build it back up, with Anthopoulos getting in the act and stating clearly that a particular trade he didn’t make – let’s take a wild stab here, folks, and say it was for Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda – fell apart because the other team wanted a major-league-ready player off the Blue Jays roster.

(Several sources say that player was third baseman Brett Lawrie; the Blue Jays balked and instead the Mariners did some good business with the New York Yankees, landing catcher Jesus Montero.)

I guess you can’t fault the M’s for asking. But man, I can’t think of many young hitters who are more untouchable, or at least should be, than Brett Lawrie. Sure, Jesus Montero may be great one day, but at age 21 Lawrie hit .293/.373/.580, hit nine home runs drove in 25 RBI in only 171 plate appearances. And had some big, dramatic hits too.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
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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.