Toronto got some compensation for losing manager John Farrell to Boston in the form of infielder Mike Aviles, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was less than thrilled about the whole situation and particularly annoyed with how the Red Sox handled some aspects of the talks:
There was a lot of, to be completely candid, gamesmanship and a lot of things that went on from a negotiating standpoint. Not on our end, just a lot of things that were coming out that were completely false. We’re pretty good in terms of not putting things out there in the media and leaking things or saying things. The upsetting part for me were how many false reports were out there that I didn’t think were fair to John or to myself or to the organization.
Leaking information to the media is nothing new for the Red Sox, including the whole beer and fried chicken in the clubhouse mess, the tearing down of Terry Francona on his way out the door, and basically everything involving Bobby Valentine. It’s interesting to see how someone outside the organization reacts to information finding its way to the media, especially since Anthopoulos has quickly earned a reputation for playing things close to the vest publicly. He got involved with the Red Sox and suddenly every aspect of the negotiations were being reported on daily.
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.