It's official: Jamie Moyer is the Phillies' fifth starter

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moyer small.jpgWe had been expecting this following his damn nigh brilliant outing against the Yankees last Friday night, but Charlie Manuel made it official last night: Jamie Moyer has beat out Kyle Kendrick for the Phillies’ pfifth starter job.

I’ll admit that I was partial to Moyer winning the job all along simply because ancient lefties who throw 47 miles per hour yet still manage to get guys out are one of the wonderful things in the universe, but I am happy that he won the job on the field rather than simply having the job handed to him due to his contract and historic disdain for pitching out of the pen.

And I hope the rotation order holds too, because I think watching teams face Jamie Moyer on a Saturday and then have to gear up for Roy Halladay the next afternoon should be all kinds of fun.

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.