MLB Trade Rumors’ Aaron Steen provides the translation of this report from Japanese news service Nikkan Sports:
Clubs angling to sign Masahiro Tanaka made formal offers by Jan. 16, Nikkan Sports reports (Japanese link). The list of teams includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs, with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100MM over six years.
Noticeably absent from that list are the Angels, who could really use another front-line starter and were thought to be a potential Tanaka suitor but apparently don’t have room in the budget to make such a massive financial commitment.
Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported Saturday morning that the Cubs are the “lead team” to sign the 25-year-old Tanaka, but this bidding process has been shrouded in mystery and there probably won’t be much factual reporting on the exact offers until after the Japanese right-hander settles with a team.
For what it’s worth, Nikkan Sports pegs the D’Backs’ proposal at six years and nearly $120 million.
Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last season for the NPB’s Rakuten Golden Eagles.
His signing deadline is January 24 at 5:00 p.m. ET. That’s next Friday evening.
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.