Cameron Maybin gets lost in Citi Field

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Cameron Maybin flyball.jpgCameron Maybin’s body was in Citi Field on Monday afternoon, but he may
have left his head somewhere in the depths of Roger Dean Stadium. The
Marlins’ center fielder, who just turned 23 on Sunday, was 0-for-4 with
three swinging strikeouts, narrowly
avoiding the dreaded golden sombrero. But that’s not even the worst of
it. By my count, he let three flyballs drop in front of him and one go
over his head, the latter part of a critical four-run sixth inning for
the Metropolitans.

It wasn’t an easy day to play center field, as Gary Matthews Jr. can
surely attest. MLB.com says the wind was blowing out to left field at
about 13 mph, but it was playing tricks with any ball in the air,
forcing Matthews to stagger on a regular basis. I haven’t watched
Matthews much over the past few seasons, so I can only assume that’s not
some sort of trademark. If so, well, I need to stock up on antacids.

In any case, Maybin’s tools are undeniable. Though he was demoted last May, he even hinted at some
progress as a September call-up last season, batting .293/.353/.500 with
three homers, 10 RBI and 19 runs scored over his last 28 games. I don’t want this to sound like a knee jerk reaction, because I believe he should be playing every day in the majors, but he simply lacks the polish to be hitting No. 2 in front of Hanley Ramirez right now.

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.