Angel Pagan was a key contributor for the World Series champion Giants this season, batting .288/.338/.440 with eight home runs, 56 RBI, 29 stolen bases and a .778 OPS while playing solid defense in center field. However, the Giants are prepared to let him walk for nothing if he signs elsewhere as a free agent.
That’s life with the new collective bargaining agreement, as Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that the Giants will not make qualifying offers to any of their free agents. This list includes Pagan, Melky Cabrera and Jeremy Affeldt. Marco Scutaro is also a free agent, but the Giants can’t make him a qualifying offer since he was acquired from the Rockies during the season.
As Craig explained in detail earlier this week, teams must make a one-year qualifying offer to impending free agents in order to secure draft pick compensation. The dollar amount is determined by the average of the top 125 salaries in the game, so this year it checks in at $13.3 million. That would obviously be a pretty hefty chunk of change if Pagan was to accept, but he’ll likely be looking for a multi-year deal coming off such a strong season. Still, the Giants weren’t willing to take the chance.
Of course, just because the Giants aren’t making any qualifying offers doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in bringing any of their free agents back if the price is right. Giants general manager Brian Sabean has expressed interest in re-signing Pagan, but Baggarly hears team officials are less confident about doing so. That he won’t cost a draft pick will certainly make him more attractive to interested teams.
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.