Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays have had “serious extension talks” with Yunel Escobar. He says that while it’s not imminent, it would not be surprising to see an extension sometime soon. Robbie Knopf of Rays Colored Glasses first wrote about extension talks between the two sides yesterday afternoon.
The Rays have a $5 million club option on Escobar for 2015 before he hits free agency after that season. He hit .256/.332/.366 with nine home runs and 56 RBI during his first season with the Rays. He’s an above average defensive shortstop.
The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.
The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.
One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.