In the recaps I called the Sox-Yankees game “boring.” Upon reflection that was unfair. It wasn’t a boring game. While not the most crisp affair imaginable, it was close and competitive and I shouldn’t really be complaining. It was long, sometimes unnecessarily so, and that’s really what I was reacting against. “Boring” was not the right choice of words, however.
What was interesting: Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez trying, in his own way, to move things along. On one occasion Derek Jeter asked for time and the ump refused to give it to him. Same with David Ortiz. When Oritz didn’t get time called Jorge Posada and
A.J. Burnett got confused and called time themselves. The announcers then
went on about how Major League Baseball is pushing umpires to move things along — especially in Sox-Yankees games — and that pitchers should just take advantage and just throw the ball there.
I’m sure this was discombobulating for the hitters — and since the game was still nearly four hours long it wasn’t necessarily effective in this instance — but I hope the umps keep it up and impress upon hitters that there is really no need to spit on your batting gloves like Ortiz does or back out of the box and take that big deep breath Jeter does every time or chomp on your gum and squint like A-Rod and all that nonsense.
Get in there and swing, dammit.
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.