It’s getting closer to last call and Hunter Pence is starting to look better

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Buster Olney put the trade dynamic in perspective this morning, reminding us that for all of this excitement and all of the teams trying to outdo one another for the likes of Hunter Pence, he’s currently 18th in batting average, 50th in OBP and 54th in slugging.  Elite? No.  More like the last dude at the bar at last call who, while having someone to recommend him, is not who the Phillies planned on taking home with them when they got here earlier this evening.  But hey, better than going home alone, right?

For what it’s worth, Olney says there’s a “bidding war” afoot.  Ken Rosenthal says the Phillies are making progress, and that the package they want to send to Houston is centered around Single-A right-hander Jarred Cosart and Single-A first baseman Jonathan Singleton. That may not be enough, though, and the Braves lurk.

Closing time is coming soon, bidders. Gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits. I hope you have found a friend.

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.