Dusty Baker was fired by the Reds today with one season and $3 million remaining on his contract, which led to speculation that he might decide to take a year off before going after a new gig in 2015.
However, in speaking to the Cincinnati media this afternoon Baker said: “I’m not retiring. I’m not taking a year off unless I’m forced to.”
Baker also confirmed Jon Heyman’s report on CBSSports.com that he balked at general manager Walt Jocketty wanting to fire hitting coach Brook Jacoby, telling C. Trent Rosencraus of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
We talked about Brook about a week ago, and they were talking about replacing him and I didn’t think that was right. All the coaches get blamed for everything. Maybe it was time to go. I did say something like that–and they did it. It wasn’t a mutual thing. There’s probably some other things in there, some things that were said or didn’t get said, stuff that was done over the years and then they said we didn’t have much motivation and spunk over the last week–but our pitching was bad and we didn’t hit.
Baker has repeatedly indicated that he thinks the front office should have added more help at the trade deadline, which probably didn’t set very well with Jocketty either.
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.