UPDATE: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News are both reporting that the deal is worth $130 million. That’s $10 million less than the reported offer from the Yankees, but when you figure the tax difference between the states, Scott Boras actually did pretty well for his client here.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that it’s a straight seven-year, $130 million deal with a limited no-trade clause and no opt-outs or options. The deal will run through Choo’s age-37 season.
12:15 p.m. ET: Big news on what was originally expected to be a sleepy Saturday in the baseball world, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Rangers have agreed to a seven-year deal with free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News has confirmed the report. No word yet on the exact dollar amount.
We heard earlier this week that Choo had previously turned down a seven-year, $140 million offer from the Yankees, so it will be interesting to see if Scott Boras was able to top that. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has been coy about his interest in Choo this winter, but they reportedly offered him a seven-year deal at the Winter Meetings.
This is the second major splash of the winter for Daniels, as he traded second baseman Ian Kinsler to the Tigers for first baseman Prince Fielder in November. The Rangers were seventh in the American League in runs scored this past season, but that lineup is suddenly looking quite potent again with Choo at the top and Fielder in the middle.
Choo, 31, hit .285/.423/.462 with 21 home runs, 54 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 154 games with the Reds in 2013. He has a .389 career on-base percentage.
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.