Fred McGriff isn’t having the best couple of months

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The Rays fired the Crime Dog!  Or, probably.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays declined to rehire Fred McGriff after the 2010 season for reasons unknown.  He had been working as a special advisor in the community outreach department for a total of four years.

Those roles are usually more celebratory than anything, and his time probably just expired.

But, there’s more bad news on McGriff.

Alexandra Zayas, also of the Times, is reporting that McGriff’s wife Veronica filed for protection against the former ballplayer on January 14, just about three weeks ago.

Veronica McGriff wrote this in the police report:

“I am afraid and scared for my life and well-being.  During the past four months, my husband has been acting very strange. I learned that he secretly forged my signature to transfer our $1-million from a trust. He has stopped talking to me and the only communications he has had with me have been rude, aggressive and violent.”

“I don’t know who he is anymore. … I fear he is going to try to hurt me and I do not feel safe in my home.”

Scary stuff, but it sounds like things have been smoothed over now.  Veronica and Fred agreed to begin marriage counseling on January 31, dismissing the petition and dissolving any potential injunction.  It’s probably not fair to guess, but perhaps the strange behavior was a result of the Rays’ decision to cut McGriff loose.  Whatever the case, things seem to be back on track.

McGriff, now 47, retired after the 2004 season with 493 career home runs and a stellar .284/.377/.509 career batting line.  He was a five-time All-Star and drew MVP votes in eight different seasons.

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.