There’s no discussion there, but Phil Rogers throws out Dusty Baker, Eric Wedge, Jim Riggleman, Cecil Cooper and Dave Trembley as managers who may be looking for a job soon. Setting aside the glaring omission of Trey Hillman, here are my insta-takes:
I’m not a huge Baker fan, but there’s a lot more wrong with the Reds than him, so the Reds may as well keep him around since they’ll have to pay him anyway;
Eric Wedge should go. He’s had a long time to do something in Cleveland and they could use a fresh start;
Riggleman has done good work, but the Nats need to enter the Strasburg-era with someone a little more dynamic at the helm;
Cooper was thrown under the bus by his team’s ace starter and team leader, so he’s a dead man walking already; and
Trembley has been a good company man, but he has lost so much for so long with the Orioles, that one wonders if he can be the guy to take a team with a bright future to the next level. It just strikes me that, when a team is about to turn the corner, you don’t want a guy who is a constant reminder of all of those years in the wilderness, ya know?
As happens every year, I’m sure one of these obvious suspects will somehow hang on, and some guys we never thought would get fired. And as is the case with their decisions as managers, we will be right here to second guess and armchair GM their firings as well.
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.