The Phillies announced a host of roster moves after Triple-A Lehigh Valley lost to the Columbus Clippers in the Governors’ Cup Finals last night. Among them, Domonic Brown has returned to the major league roster.
Brown is batting .246/.335/.393 with five home runs, 19 RBI, three stolen bases and a .728 OPS over 209 plate appearances with the Phillies this season. The 24-year-old outfielder was sent back to the minors in late-July following the acquisition of Hunter Pence. He batted just .227 with one home run over 97 at-bats with the IronPigs down the stretch and went 1-for-16 (.063) as the DH during the playoffs.
Despite the underwhelming results, Brown could still contend for a spot on the playoff roster depending upon whether the Phillies decide to go with 10 or 11 pitchers. Pete Orr and John Bowker are also likely on the bubble.
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.