The Washington National unveil new jerseys. They’re OK.

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Some people have told me that I should have waited to do my writeup on the Nats’ jerseys until after they unveiled their new duds last night.  I don’t think it makes a difference.  The new outfits are neither the best nor the worst the Nationals have ever sported.  They’re worth discussion, but they don’t change my analysis.

As for that discussion: I like the curly-W on the new home whites well enough. It’s certainly an improvement over the block “Nationals” they’ve been using. It’s being referred to as “an authentic bond with the past,” but the old Senators never put a curly W on the actual jersey. They had block Ws and script “Senators,” but the W’s were always on the caps. I like the look — it’s kind of like the Tigers English D, no? — but I don’t know I can call it my favorite. Give it time, maybe.  I was thinking that a script “Nationals” to track the road grays (which I really like) would be the best move, but what do I know? The W is probably less generic than a simple script would be.  This could grow on me.

The other changes are the red and blue alternates. You know how I feel about solid alternates — batting practice jerseys, blah — and this is no different.  They’ve included a red, white and blue W on the blue alternate which is not my taste, but hey, they’ll probably sell a lot of them. They’re only going to be worn on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Sept. 11th and military appreciation days anyway, so it’s not like we’ll see it often.

Other changes: the road cap gets a red bill. Eh, I liked the solid blues, but this isn’t an atrocity. There’s new piping and things too, but I don’t get too animated by that sort of thing unless it’s distracting, which this isn’t.

Ultimately the Nationals are a team still searching for its identity. As far as uniforms go, I suspect they’ll find it in whatever it they happen to be wearing when they win the division the first time.  For now though, I think this looks pretty good. Just wish they’d can the solid alternates.

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.