UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth $8.25 million.
8:57 a.m. ET: Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that Pierzysnki will get a one-year deal. He’ll essentially function as a stopgap option with the Red Sox, as prospects Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart aren’t too far away from the big leagues.
8:23 a.m. ET: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Red Sox have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Terms aren’t yet known.
We heard last night that the Red Sox were “unlikely” to keep Jarrod Saltalamacchia, which was a strong hint that they were moving in another direction at the catcher position. Pierzynski was the best alternative available in the free agent market. And while we don’t know the specifics of the contract yet, the Red Sox probably won’t have to commit as many years to him as they would with the younger Saltalamacchia, who now appears likely to land with the Twins or Marlins.
Pierzynski, who turns 37 later this month, batted .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs and 70 RBI over 134 games this past season with the Rangers. He’ll share catching duties with David Ross in Boston.
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.