UPDATE: Rosenthal now says it’s a done deal, with the Cubs sending Garza to the Rangers for Triple-A third base prospect Mike Olt, Single-A pitching prospect C.J. Edwards, MLB right-hander Justin Grimm, and a player to be named later.
Olt was a consensus top-50 prospect coming into the season and Edwards has been unbelievably good at Single-A as a 21-year-old, so regardless of what you think of Grimm’s mid-rotation potential that’s a damn good haul for what’s essentially two months of Garza. And the Rangers have added a frontline starter for a potential playoff run.
With trade rumors swirling Cubs manager Dale Sveum was asked yesterday if Matt Garza would still be around to make his scheduled start tonight and replied: “I’d say 100 percent he’s going to be pitching.”
Sveum then immediately put into question his concept of “100 percent” by adding that “if we get a phone call and something changes, that’s the way it is.” And apparently that’s exactly what happened, because Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Garza will not start for the Cubs tonight and the long-rumored trade to the Rangers is finally “near.”
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.