As tends to happen when someone’s bad behavior is made public–just think back to all the Tiger Woods stuff for the most recent prominent example in sports–stories about Francisco Rodriguez being a bad guy are coming out of the woodwork now.
Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record passes along this gem about Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera:
Rodriguez’s reputation was damaged even before joining the Mets. On the eve of the 2008 All-Star Game at the Stadium, Mariano Rivera ordered clubhouse attendants to keep K-Rod’s locker as far away as possible. The Yankee closer, a deeply religious man, decided he couldn’t stand even one night of K-Rod’s excesses.
Klapisch goes on to chide the Mets for not reigning in Rodriguez earlier, suggesting that their lack of control over the closer “in part, is why Rodriguez went off on a family member on Wednesday, because somewhere in his consciousness he knew he could get away with it.”
That seems like one hell of a leap in logic to me, although certainly making the Mets responsible for his beating up a 53-year-old man is a great way to sell newspapers and given how dysfunctional the whole team has been few people are going to stick up for them no matter the claims.
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.