Kyle Lohse’s market has been crushed by having draft pick compensation attached to his free agency and as recently as three weeks ago he hadn’t received a single offer despite coming off back-to-back career-years.
Lohse and Michael Bourn are the only two unsigned free agents who turned down $13.3 million qualifying offers from their original teams, but yesterday Brewers owner Mark Attanasio revealed that Milwaukee could be a landing spot for Lohse if his price tag drops low enough due to the lack of interested teams:
I think you have to look at the whole picture. We’ve given up picks before, and when we got CC [Sabathia] and we got Zack [Greinke], we gave up more than draft compensation–we gave up ready-to-go young players. This season, we’re mindful of the fact that if we do add some pieces, we may have to give up some young players. There’s always a chance. Again, it’s a function of size of contract, length of contract. Kyle had a phenomenal two seasons the last two seasons. We just have to see if that fits in our overall scheme.
Milwaukee picks 17th in the first round and to give that up in order to sign a 34-year-old pitcher is a steep price even without factoring in how much money Lohse would actually get, but Attanasio noted that guys like Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, and Rickie Weeks were all top-10 picks. Of course, the most recent Brewers first-round pick to make the majors was Brett Lawrie, who they got 16th overall in 2008 and traded to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum.
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.