Athletics’ closer Brian Fuentes rips manager Bob Geren

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Brian Fuentes has been inserted late into tie games a lot recently. While one possible takeaway from that is that the manager trusts you to get the team out of tight spots, that strategy has led to Fuentes (a) not being entirely sure what his role is; and (b) taking a bunch of losses.

He’s not too thrilled with that, it seems, and in today’s Chronicle, he says that manager Bob Geren’s handling of him has been “pretty poor” and that there has been “zero communication” between them of late.  Guess what: I bet that’s about to change:

Brian Fuentes has been the A’s closer all season. Now he doesn’t know what he is. Thanks to manager Bob Geren.

“The games in San Francisco were unorthodox managing,” said Fuentes, who criticized Geren after Monday night’s 4-1 loss to the Angels for his in-game managing and communication skills. “I thought it was a National League thing. But tonight was pretty unbelievable.”

Um, Brian, you do know that Geren was the best man at Billy Beane’s wedding, right? You think you’re going to win this one?

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.