Boras works on pushing Damon to Detroit

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Seemingly just about out of alternatives, agent Scott Boras is trying to get the Tigers to bite on free agent Johnny Damon.
Boras told the Detroit News on Monday that Damon indicated in December that he wanted to become a Tiger, and he’s turning to statistics to show that it would be a good fit: “He’s batted .363 at Comerica Park, he has a .412 on-base percentage at Comerica,” Boras said.
The Tigers are interested in adding a left-handed hitter and they could certainly use a leadoff man, but money is tight and Damon certainly won’t get the dollars he’s looking for from the team.
If the Tigers added Damon, they’d play him in left field and shift Carlos Guillen primarily into the DH role. Ryan Raburn would again be looked at as a backup, but he’d likely get plenty of playing time because of his versatility.

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.