Two weeks after being traded to the Blue Jays in the deal that sent manager John Farrell to the Red Sox, Mike Aviles is on the move again.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the Blue Jays have shipped Aviles and utility man Yan Gomes to the Indians in exchange for right-hander Esmil Rogers.
Aviles, who turns 32 next March, batted .250/.282/.381 with 13 home runs, 60 RBI and a .663 OPS in 136 games this season for the Red Sox. He earned $1.2 million in 2012 and is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter.
The Indians already have Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis as starters at shortstop and second base respectively, so Aviles could be in the mix at third base or as a backup infielder. It helps that he’s right-handed, as the Indians batted just .234/.312/.352 with a .664 OPS against southpaws this season. Aviles has a .797 career OPS against left-handed pitching.
Gomes, 25, batted .204/.264/.367 with four home runs, 13 RBI and a .631 OPS in 43 games with the Blue Jays this season while making starts at first base, third base, left field and behind the plate. The Brazil native could provide some versatility off the bench and some pop from the right side of the plate.
Rogers began this season with the Rockies, but posted a brutal 8.06 ERA over his first 23 appearances before being traded to the Indians in June. The 27-year-old was quietly very effective with his new club, compiling a 3.06 ERA and 54/12 K/BB ratio over 53 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander has experience as a starter, but it looks like he has found his niche out of the bullpen.
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.