Jim Leyland

Jim Leyland doesn’t want to talk about his contract

8 Comments

There’s been some speculation that the Tigers will fire Jim Leyland if they don’t make the playoffs, and yesterday the 67-year-old manager told reporters that he hasn’t talked about his contract status with the team and doesn’t want to until the season is over:

Here’s more from Leyland, via Anthony Odoardi of MLB.com:

I don’t think about that. I think about beating Oakland. That’s not going to have any effect on me. I think about beating the Oakland Athletics tonight and get into the playoffs. That situation will take care of itself at the proper time, and now, obviously, is not the proper time.

If I had information for you, I would give it to you, but I have none. I haven’t discussed my situation with anyone nor has my situation been discussed with me. And I don’t want to discuss my situation with anyone nor do they want to discuss it with me right now. We’re trying to win a division.

Leyland’s contract status was actually a popular topic way back in spring training, when he discussed it with reporters on March 30 and then ended the media session by saying: “But that’s the end of that stuff for the whole year. I’m not talking about that.”

And that’s mostly been true. Until now, at least.

This is Leyland’s seventh season as Tigers manager and his record with Detroit is 597-523 (.533) with two playoff appearances, including an American League title in 2006. This year, however, the Tigers were picked to win the AL Central by just about everyone and instead sit 3.0 games back of the White Sox at 78-69 for the league’s seventh-best record.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch 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)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
6 Comments

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)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.