The latest on Matt Garza is that there’s nothing new to report.
The Brewers and Garza reportedly agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract on Thursday, but the team later announced that negotiations were ongoing and that no deal had been reached. The announcement was rather odd, especially when coupled with the news that he took a physical and was expected to be introduced as a press conference. As Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports, both sides were staying tight-lipped yesterday on the nature of the hold-up:
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin did not immediately respond to a telephone message, and assistant GM Gord Ash said he couldn’t comment. Garza’s agent, Nez Balelo, also declined to comment.
One source privy to the negotiations said there was no update as of mid-afternoon, and advised to “stay tuned.” He declined to say, even in general terms, what was impeding the deal.
Many have speculated that something came up during the physical, understandable given Garza’s injury history, but reports have indicated that the delay is not related to medical concerns. The Brewers have their annual “Brewers On Deck” fan fest scheduled for tomorrow, which could make for some awkward times if the silence continues.
Assuming a deal is eventually reached, Garza would join a rotation which is also set to include Kyle Lohse, Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, and Wily Peralta.
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.