The Baseball Hall of Fame vote is over and done with, but at least we still have the continuing saga of Alex Rodriguez to talk about.
With arbitrator Fredric Horowitz expected to making a ruling on Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension any day now — in fact, a decision could come down as soon as tomorrow — Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York hears from a source “in A-Rod’s camp” that the embattled slugger has discussed the possibility of accepting a reduced suspension rather than continue his fight against MLB in court:
According to the source, a suspension longer than 100 games will likely cause Rodriguez and his attorneys to pursue a temporary restraining order against Horowitz’s ruling in federal court.
If he is given a shorter suspension, however, “then Alex will have some things to think about,” the source told ESPNNewYork.com.
According to the source, who has been privy to some internal discussions in the Rodriguez camp, the player is weighing the financial implications of continuing to fight this battle versus accepting a suspension that will allow him to take the field sometime in the second half of the coming season.
Taking his battle into the courtroom will cost Rodriguez “at least $10 million, with no guarantee of winning,” said the source, while a 100-game ban would cost him $15,425,000 of his scheduled $25 million salary for 2014.
This is quite a contrast to what we heard from Rodriguez after he stormed out of his arbitration hearing back in November, as he vowed that he “shouldn’t have to serve one inning.” However, the heavy cost of continuing the fight with no guarantee of victory apparently has him reconsidering things.
“It’s not just a matter of money,” the source told Matthews. “It’s also about the mental anguish of going through this and not knowing if or when you’re going to play again. Alex might decide to take his medicine and move on.”
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.