The Best: When I wrote this up a couple of years ago I was clearly suffering from some sort of stress-related malady, because I picked the 1960s vests as the best Pirate uniform. That’s not the worst thing ever because the Pirates did vests pretty well, all things considered, but I realize now that no vest should ever be picked as a team’s best look. So, with all apologies to Clemente, Mazeroski and the rest, I’m going to give the title of best ever Pirates uniform to the longer sleeved traditional look they adopted in 1948. Which, with the exception of a big ugly arm patch, is what they wear today. The Pirates look great, actually. At least when they’re standing still and not, you know, trying to play baseball.
Assessment: If we did this bracket-style, the 70s Pirates and 70s A’s would almost certainly meet up in the awfulness finals. Which, for Pittsburgh at least, is kind of a shame. Really, they’ve got well over a hundred years of downright sharp and respectable uniforms sullied by a few short years of dreck, clouding all of our memories. Alas.
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.