Joe Girardi is getting a ton of praise for keeping the Yankees in the playoff picture despite an incredible number of injuries wrecking the roster all season, which is interesting timing with the manager’s contract up after the season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com broaches the topic of whether Girardi would ever leave the Yankees as a free agent or, short of that, if he can at least leverage the situation into a big raise. Girardi is from Chicago, so the Cubs job might be appealing, and high-profile teams like the Nationals, Angels, and Phillies may all have openings. And he’s about to finish up a three-year, $9 million contract.
General manager Brian Cashman has made it clear he wants Girardi back and Girardi has dropped some hints suggesting he plans to be back, such as revealing how he’ll try to talk Mariano Rivera out of retiring to pitch another season for the Yankees. Girardi has a .583 winning percentage in six seasons managing the Yankees, which is the equivalent of a 94-68 record prorated to one 162-game season.
My guess is that he’ll be back in New York, but for a lot more than $3 million per season.
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.