So what’s up with those big fat ugly necklaces everyone is wearing?

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Watching the playoffs, I’ve been trying to figure out if those big necklaces a ton of the players are wearing are a fashion statement, a charity or public awareness thing or something else. ‘Duk over at Big League Stew has the whole story today. Turns out it’s snake oil. The necklaces are sold by some company promising unverifiable benefits, and they handed a bunch of these out to ballplayers who serve as free advertising.  From the product description:

“Featuring Phiten’s exclusive Aqua-Titanium technology, this product helps to promote stable energy flow throughout the body. The benefits of this are longer lasting energy, less fatigue, shortened recovery time and more relaxed muscles.”

And people still ask why players take HGH even if there’s no scientific evidence showing that it enhances performance.  Players will do anything if one guy starts doing it and doesn’t drop dead ten seconds later.  “Hey! Johnny AllStarBigSlugger started wearing that necklace last spring, and he made the All-Star team! And led the league in homers! You can’t argue with that!”

In other news, please read this comic, print it out, and keep it close by for handy reference the next time someone wants to sell you homeopathy, energy crystals, magnets, big fat necklaces or any other kind of hooey that promises to do something special for you. The only thing that stuff does is make the people who sell that stuff rich.

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.