Brian McCann had a disappointing first season with the Yankees, hitting just .232 with a career-low .692 OPS in 140 games after signing a five-year, $85 million contract.
He’s an extreme pull hitter and teams shifted a ton against McCann, who told MLB Network that he’s “definitely going to change my approach a little bit” next season in an effort to combat the shifts.
I think there’s definitely times to bunt. Maybe leading off the inning down four or five runs or [with a] man on first, no outs, try to start a rally. But, you know, as far as hitting the ball the other way, that’s something I’ve definitely done going into spring training and then a month into the season you look up and you sacrifice power and driving the baseball. Or at least I do. That’s the line I have to walk. I’ve hit a certain way for a long, long time.
It’s certainly valid for a good hitter to worry about his overall production declining if he were to change his approach trying to beat shifts, but when you’re coming off a season in which you got on base just 28 percent of the time working on laying down some bunts and slapping the ball down the third base line seems like a pretty reasonable change.
Today the Angels introduced their newest big star, Anthony Rendon, who just signed a seven-year, $245 million contract to play in Orange County.
And it is Orange County, not Los Angeles, Rendon stressed at the press conference. When asked about the Dodgers, who had also been reported to be courting him, Rendon said he preferred the Angels because, “the Hollywood lifestyle . . . didn’t seem like it would be a fit for us as a family.”
What “the Hollywood Lifestyle” means in that context could mean a lot of things I suppose. It could be about the greater media scrutiny Dodgers players are under compared to Angels players. It could mean that he’d simply prefer to live in Newport Beach than, I dunno, wherever Dodgers players live. Pasadena? Pasadena is more convenient to Dodger Stadium than the beach. Who knows. They never did let Yasiel Puig get that helicopter he wanted, so traffic could’ve been a consideration.
But maybe it’s a subtle allusion to political/cultural stuff. Orange County has trended to the left in some recent elections but it is, historically speaking, a conservative stronghold in Southern California. And, based on something else he said in his press conference, Rendon seems to be pretty conscious of geographical/political matters:
A shoutout to the notion of Texas being Trump country and an askance glance at “the Hollywood Lifestyle” of Los Angeles all in the same press conference. That’s a lot of culture war ground covered in one press conference. So much so that I can’t decide if I should warn Rendon that both Texas and Orange County are trending leftward or if I should tell him to stick to sports.