Jurickson Profar is regarded as one of the top position prospects in the game, but there’s no room for him in the Rangers’ infield as long as Elvis Andrus is at shortstop and Ian Kinsler is at second base. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels is reluctant to part with either Profar or Andrus, at least if recent trade talks regarding Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton can be believed, so one potential solution is a position switch for Kinsler.
The Rangers haven’t broached the topic with Kinsler, so it’s just an idea for now. But Kinsler told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he would switch positions if asked.
“I’m paid to be a Texas Ranger,” Kinsler said Thursday afternoon before hosting Thanksgving dinner at the Family Gateway in Dallas. “Where I play on the field is not my decision. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the fielder or where I’m hitting in the batting order.”
The Rangers probably won’t make a decision on a possible position switch until the offseason winds down, but there could be openings in left field and at first base. Aside from playing two innings at third base in September due to unusual circumstances, Kinsler has exclusively played second base in the major leagues.
Kinsler, 30, signed a five-year, $75 million extension with the Rangers in April which includes a $10 million option for 2018.
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.