Mets send prospect Ike Davis to minors camp

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Unlike Madison Bumgarner with the Giants there was probably never a significant chance of first baseman Ike Davis breaking camp with the Mets, but today’s demotion to the minors is still news after he hit .480 with three homers this spring.
Davis was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2008 and hit .298/.381/.524 with 20 homers in 114 minor-league games last season, so he’s definitely a big part of the long-term plan.
However, he has just 55 total games above Single-A, including zero at Triple-A, so in the big picture delaying the 23-year-old’s arrival for a couple more months is probably smart for the Mets.
Daniel Murphy will get another chance to prove that he’s a starting-caliber first baseman while Davis knocks around Triple-A pitching and the Mets suppress his service time enough to gain an extra year of team control. And if things go as I expect–which is to say Murphy is mediocre at best and Davis continues to do well in the minors–the Mets can make the switch in June or July.
If nothing else, for once it’s good to see the Mets being something less than ultra-aggressive with a prospect.

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.