Report: Manny 'planning to' exercise $20 million option, stay with Dodgers

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Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Manny Ramirez “is planning to exercise” his $20 million option for 2010 rather than test the free-agent market again following a season in which he was suspended for 50 games.
Ramirez remains a headache and he’ll be 38 years old next season, but had he accumulated enough plate appearances to qualify for the season-long leaderboards his .949 OPS would have ranked seventh among all NL hitters. His adjusted OPS+ of 149 would have ranked sixth in the league and was just slightly below his career mark of 155 (which happens to be the 25th-best OPS+ in baseball history).
And while much was made of Ramirez slumping down the stretch his .838 OPS after the All-Star break still put him in the league’s top 25, including ninth-best among outfielders. Love him or hate him Ramirez is still one of the elite right-handed bats in all of baseball and the Dodgers should be happy to welcome him back on what is essentially a one-year, $20 million deal.
Replacing his production would have meant either giving up tons of value in a trade or handing out a huge long-term contract to a free agent like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. Compared to either of those options another season of Manny makes a lot of sense for a Dodgers team that went 59-40 (.600) with Ramirez in the lineup this year. He has until five days after the World Series to make his decision official.

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.