After the Rays designated him for assignment last week, Reid Brignac said that he was appreciative of everything the Rays had done for him, but at the same time he was “eagerly excited about the opportunity to play for another organization, possibly the chance to get a little more playing time.” Brignac’s wish has come true as the Rays have dealt him to the Colorado Rockies for both a player-to-be-named and cash considerations.
In the Rays’ eyes, they have to be ecstatic that they’re going to be getting something for Brignac. He does have some talent, but he found his way out of their plans and they had to designate him for assignment in favor of a player who could more realistically help their team. Because of his great defense and still present offensive upside, it seemed likely that some team would claim Brignac on waivers- the Rays could not have possibly expected him to go through unclaimed- and they were willing to let him leave the organization for nothing. Instead, the Rays will be getting not just cash considerations, but a player-to-be-named as well, and although the player they received will probably be a low minors lottery ticket type if he has any potential at all, if you buy enough lottery tickets, one has to be a winner, and getting one in exchange for a player they had little use for anyway is certainly a positive development. It’s sad to see how Brignac’s career has fallen apart, but he had to go, and the Rays have to be glad that they will be receiving something for his services as he departs to the Rockies.
From Brignac’s standpoint, it had to be heartening for him to know that there were teams interested in his services. Brignac had always impressed the Rays with his defense, especially at shortstop, but they couldn’t afford to keep him on their roster as a player who never proved that he could hit major league pitching on any sort of regular basis. On a National League team like the Rockies, Brignac’s defense holds more weight in a bench role with pinch-hitting and double-switching a constant part of the NL game, and especially on the Rockies, they’re a strong offensive team that may be willing to sacrifice some offense in exchange for Brignac’s defense and give him some playing time- as long as he can prove that he can hit on a decent enough level. Brignac’s offense will continue to be the question for him in Colorado, but the change of scenery can only help him, and after he made something of a breakthrough with his plate discipline at Triple-A in 2012, he’s heading to an organization that will give him a real shot to show them what he can do. Brignac blew his chance with the Rays and it was clear that another one was not oncoming after he stayed at Triple-A for virtually all of 2012 in favor of not exactly the most exciting options in Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson, and then the nail in the coffin was that the Rays acquired Yunel Escobar to be their starting shortstop this offseason. After seeing that happen, it has to be frustrating for Brignac to know that he went into a free-fall from top prospect to designated for assignment in just a few short years. However, he’s leaving a foreboding situation for a place where he will have a real opportunity to compete for a major league roster spot, and his career may just be looking up. Best of luck to Brignac with the Rockies and hopefully he can finally turn a corner at the plate and hold down at least a major league bench job for Colorado next season.