The Miami Marlins’ desire to land Yoenis Cespedes is no secret. They’ve been talking about it forever. They have been way out front in saying how much they want to push hard to market the team to the Latino community. And to that end, Jayson Stark reports that the Marlins may very well make an offer to Cespedes today.
I find this interesting when contrasted with this report from Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com about the Baltimore Orioles’ interest:
The Orioles are still trying to determine their level of interest in Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The next step is for Fred Ferreira, their executive director of international recruiting, to take another look at him.
Ferreira will head to the Dominican Republic in about 10 days to watch Cespedes work out.
I suppose it’s possible that Cespedes will hem and haw for another two more weeks. But really, if the Marlins are making an offer today, what are the odds that the O’s will have to seriously “assess their interest?” He could easily be doing early workouts at the Marlins’ training facility by then.
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.