Jim Tracy and Ned Yost: peas in a pod

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Gotta love it…

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Yes, Alcides Escobar is batting second for the Royals on Sunday. Not because Ned Yost thinks he’s good. Yost thinks Escobar is the worst or second worst hitter in his lineup, which is why he’s typically batted him ninth. But he’d decided it’s more important to protect his No. 6 hitter in Moustakas than it is to have someone halfway decent hitting in front of Eric Hosmer.

In what world does that make sense?

(This is my crusade of the month. Sorry if you’re sick of reading about it already, but managers have been giving away way too many outs from the second spot in the order these last couple of years.)

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.