Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News went on TV yesterday and had this to say about Josh Hamilton’s recent fall off the wagon:
It’s time for Josh [Hamilton] to grow up. This thing about a week or so ago … he just cannot do that. But if also can’t wrap himself in the cloak of his faith, an accountability partner or the bartender, he’s gotta do it himself. There are a lot of people out there get up and deal with this same problem every day, and they handle it. It’s time for him to cut the free pass. You’re 30 and going to be 31 in May — you’ve got to deal with it yourself.
Did Fraley watch Hamilton’s press conference last week? I did, and at no time did he blame anyone else but himself or do anything other than say how unacceptable his behavior was and how he needs to do better. What “free pass” is Fraley speaking of? I’ve seen none of it. Am I crazy?
Seems to me that Hamilton is proceeding like any other addict. Ups. Downs. Attempts to make his life better. It’s a life long struggle. He just happens to be doing it in public.
But I guess Fraley wants a cleaner narrative. One in which Hamilton is either a hero or a scoundrel. Too bad life doesn’t work like that.
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.