J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones

What will pass for Gold Glove outrage today

47 Comments

Gold Glove Awards were announced last night. I didn’t see them when they came out because I was doing important things like watching “Serenity” for the tenth time. Shiny.

Look, I’m not going to pretend that I have any way to measure defense that is any better than what anyone else has. Quite worse, in fact, as I don’t have nearly the grasp on the relevant defensive metrics that the experts and many of you guys sling around.  When I talk about defense it’s almost always based on the eyeball test, because it’s really all I got. To the extent I have any authority on it — and I don’t claim to have much if any — it’s because I tend to watch a lot of baseball.

All of that said, if anyone can explain to me how Adam Jones is a better outfielder than Mike Trout, J.J. Hardy is a better shortstop than Brendan Ryan and Jimmy Rollins is a better shortstop than Brandon Crawford — who wasn’t even nominated, by the way — I’d really like to hear your arguments.

Otherwise: eh. The Gold Glove voters (i.e. random coaches who watch less of the other 29 baseball teams than most serious baseball fans and dedicated baseball writers do) have had worse years than this.  Years so bad that, by this point, it’s silly to even work up any bile over these things. If anything I’m disappointed that the awards weren’t worse because at least then we could have fun with them.

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
2 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.