We’ll have more analysis of the Bay signing later — my favorite reader comment so far compares it to the Mets getting Kevin McReynolds in 1987 — but in the meantime, know that it’s not necessarily a done deal.
We passed along reports over a month ago that Bay’s health might be a concern. Jerry Crasnick and Jon Heyman both bring them up anew today. There isn’t a sense of anything huge — he had hamstring problems late last year — but there is something making people think that the usual rubber-stamp physical may be something more drawn out and complicated.
I’d posit that you’re always gonna have health risks when you sign a guy over thirty to what amounts to a five year deal, but it’s the Mets’ money, not mine, so good luck for them and all that.
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.