Kenny Williams not happy with his team

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The Sox’ GM thinks he should be getting more from the team he has assembled:

“I’m not happy with a lot of what I see. We’re underachievers. We can be a dangerous playoff team, but you first have to play well enough, play smart enough, play intense enough, to where you show you want to be in the playoffs. It can’t just be lip service. I don’t want to hear it anymore. Get the job done.”

I don’t know if Kenny can expect a ton more from this club.  It’s certainly not a bad White Sox team.  They’re a rotation slot down until Peavy arrives, but there are no other glaring holes. The problem is that there is no superstar on this team — no one here that can be expected to be playing leaps and bounds better in 2009 than they currently are. No one to carry the team when others falter. They’re 61-58. They’ve scored 555 runs and have allowed 540. Normally, that translates to . . .  a 61-58 record. 

With even a little luck they’re tied or ahead of the Tigers.  You can’t count on good luck, however, and in light of that, this is a team that is performing precisely to expectations.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.

Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.

Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.