UPDATE: And now it’s official. Pelfrey will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow.
While not quite official yet, the Mets just announced that Mike Pelfrey will travel to Alabama tomorrow to see Dr. James Andrews and is expected to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.
Pelfrey pitched well through three starts, including eight innings of one-run ball his last time out, but was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament earlier this week.
Surgery would knock him out for the entire season and perhaps part of 2013 as well, likely ending his Mets career after seven years and 149 starts. He’ll be under team control via arbitration next season, but because Pelfrey is making $5.8 million this year and can only take a 20 percent pay cut he’ll almost surely be non-tendered.
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.