Angel Pagan hit an inside-the-park homer in the fourth inning of last night’s Mets-Nats game, which you can see here. Then, in the fifth, he started off a triple play, which you can see here.
Before I say anything else, let me say this: great job by Pagan for (a) running like a mofo out of the box on the inside-the-parker; and (b) making a great catch on the triple play. What I’m about to say isn’t meant to take anything away from him.
But I’ll say it anyway: boo to Nyjer Morgan for misjudging the fly that turned into the home run. If he hadn’t and, if instead, he had played the carom, then Pagan would have had a double. I’ve written before that I don’t, like many people, find inside-the-park home runs to be the most exciting play in baseball because they are so often the product of mistakes by the outfielders and many times aren’t even close plays (give me a clean triple any day). This one was still exciting — there was a play at the plate at least — but if Nyjer doesn’t misplay that ball, there’s no homer.
Also, boo to second base umpire Bob Davidson for not making anything close to a definitive call on Pagan’s catch that kicked off the triple play, thereby confusing the base runners. Yes, it’s the runners’ responsibility to make double damn sure that the ball drops before advancing, but on plays that close the ump has to make a better call than that.
And Mets fans: please, hold your “stop hating on the Mets” rebop. I’m not hating on them. Like I said, great plays by Pagan. But that doesn’t mean that Morgan and Davidson didn’t screw up.
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.