An important part of that big trade with the Blue Jays for the Marlins was to get themselves a shortstop to replace Jose Reyes. But it’s not gonna be the guy who played most of the time at shortstop for the Blue Jays:
The Marlins also appear to be leaning toward playing [Adeiny] Hechavarria at shortstop and moving Escobar, a career shortstop, to third base. The infielders from Cuba are very good defensively. Hechavarria is a 23-year-old who appeared in 41 games for Toronto last year.
“There is a shortstop who could become one of the great Cuban signs of all time,” Samson said during his radio interview. “A perennial All-Star, supposedly. But he has to do it.”
Hechavarria, who will be 24 in April, played in 41 games for Toronto during his rookie season. He hit .254/.280/.365. He has hit .272/.314/.381 in 1548 minor league plate appearances. He has the glove, arm and range to be a strong major league defensive shortstop, but the plate discipline, she is poor.
With young pitching, though, you figure that the Marlins are way better off with a solid glove guy at short than Escobar who, while good, just turned 30, will likely decline in that department over time and is probably not a bad bet to make the not-uncommon move from short to third.
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.