Justin Upton has been mentioned in trade rumors for a long time now, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has a new one. And it’s pretty juicy.
Justin Upton for Chase Headley?
The Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres have held on-and-off discussions about a trade involving those players since July, but the talks have failed to progress, according to major-league sources.
The Diamondbacks, however, continue to discuss Upton with other clubs, including the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, sources say, while also considering offers for another of their outfielders, Jason Kubel.
Rosenthal speculates that the Padres would likely need to add more to Headley, who is coming off a breakout season in which he finished fifth in the NL MVP balloting. The 28-year-old third baseman projects to make around $8 million via arbitration next season and is under team control through 2014. Meanwhile, Upton doesn’t turn 26 until next August and is under contract for $38.5 million over the next three years. Headley would give the Diamondbacks the third baseman they have been looking for while Jedd Gyorko could take over at third base for the Padres. Talks haven’t gone anywhere and trading within the division is unlikely, but it sure is an interesting scenario.
The Rangers have been connected to Upton all winter and Rosenthal hears that they have been “persistent” and “relentless” in their pursuit. Still, they would prefer to put together a deal with Mike Olt as the centerpiece as opposed to Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. Unsatisfied, the Diamondbacks believe they could find a better deal with a team like the Mariners, who are desperate to add a power hitter. While Upton has the Mariners on his four-team no-trade list, Rosenthal speculates that they could convince him to accept a deal if they extend his contract. The Braves have also made “strong overtures” for Upton, setting up the possibility of teaming him up with his brother, B.J. Upton, who signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract with the club earlier this offseason.
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.