25 years ago today: Rod Carew announces his retirement

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June 2, 1986

Officially ending his Hall of Fame career about six months after MLB owners did it for him, Rod Carew announced his retirement.  A victim of collusion after the 1985 season, Carew failed to get any suitable offers for what would have been his age-40 campaign.  Nine years later, he’d be awarded $782,000 in damages for his lost wages.

Carew finished his career hitting .280/.371/.345 in 127 games for the Angels in 1985.  It was the only one of his 19 seasons in which he wasn’t named to the AL All-Star team.  On Aug. 4, 1985, he became the 16th player in major league history to reach 3,000 hits.  He ended his career at 3,053.

Carew hit .328/.393/.429 with 92 homers and 1,015 RBI in 12 seasons with the Twins and seven with the Angels.  He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1967 and its MVP in 1977, when he hit .388/.449/.570 and drove in 100 runs for the only time in his career.  He ended up winning seven batting titles and finishing first in the AL in the OBP four times.  Both the Twins and the Angels retired his number 29.

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.