Rays “have expressed interest in” Manny Delcarmen

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In their ongoing effort to rebuild the bullpen the Rays “have expressed interest in” Manny Delcarmen, according to Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times.

Delcarmen was traded from the Red Sox to the Rockies in August and then non-tendered last month after posting a 4.99 ERA and 38/32 K/BB ratio in 52 innings between the two teams.

He was a standout setup man for Boston in 2007 and 2008, posting a 2.81 ERA with 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings during that time, but in the two seasons since then he has a 4.74 ERA and 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

Despite his recent struggles Delcarmen still averaged 93 miles per hour with his fastball last season, so it makes sense that the Rays would try turning the 28-year-old right-hander around in a middle relief role.

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.