FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported late Saturday night that the Dodgers have made significant progress toward finalizing a seven-year contract extension with left-hander Clayton Kershaw that will wind up being worth “well above” $180 million.
So the young ace was asked about those contract talks before Sunday afternoon’s series finale vs. the Pirates. Courtesy of Los Angeles Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez, here was Kershaw’s response:
“I think the reason we’ve been able to continue discussions for this long is that it’s not been talked about,” Kershaw told reporters. “And now that I’m having to talk about it, it’s a distraction because people are talking about it. I guess you’ll have to talk to the Dodgers as to why it came out now. I don’t love the fact that I have to talk about it.”
“We kind of had an agreement that we weren’t going to talk about it. It didn’t come from our side. I’m going to still hold up my end of the bargain and not talk about it.”
“I don’t know,” concluded Kershaw when asked if the leak might affect the pace of the discussions.
The star 25-year-old has registered an outstanding 1.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 104/31 K/BB ratio in 107 1/3 innings this season. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent after the 2014 campaign.
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.