I wrote yesterday about how Cubs president Theo Epstein refuses to say that manager Dale Sveum will definitely be back next season despite being under contract. So what does Sveum think of his uncertain job status?
When asked about Epstein’s various quotes leaving things up in the air, Sveum told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune:
They have to evaluate, just like we have to evaluate our players and make a decision when the season is over on them as well. It’s the same thing. It’s the way the game is. … I’ve been happy with the way we’ve done things. Obviously some things haven’t gone too well, and some things have gone really well. I’m happy with my coaching staff, but that’s up to them. They’re the bosses and they make those decisions and evaluate.
I don’t have any hard-and-fast numbers to back this up, but generally speaking if the front office won’t say that a manager will definitely return the next season his odds of returning are pretty low. For whatever it’s worth first baseman Anthony Rizzo praised Sveum yesterday, saying: “I think Dale has done a really good job this year, especially with Starlin and me. We didn’t live up to what we’re supposed to do. That’s the game of baseball.”
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.