Yesterday the Rockies chose Walt Weiss as their new manager, deciding not to hire Jason Giambi for the job after interviewing the still-active 41-year-old first baseman.
Giambi has said previously that he’d like to continue playing if he didn’t land the manager gig, but today general manager Dan O’Dowd told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that the Rockies are hoping Giambi will consider becoming their hitting coach.
“We consider him a Rockie, we hope this is the spot he will consider,” O’Dowd said. “He was very impressive in his interview for the manager’s job.”
Renck indicates that the Rockies would want Giambi to retire as a player if he accepted the hitting coach job and they’re unlikely to be interested in re-signing him strictly as a player. So, basically, if he wants to keep playing it would have to come elsewhere, but if he’s ready to retire the Rockies have an immediate spot on the coaching staff waiting for him.
Giambi going from first baseman to hitting coach while working under a first-time manager with no professional coaching experience who was coaching a high school team when the Rockies called him sure would be interesting. For at least one year, anyway.
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.