Knee surgery caused Carlos Quentin to miss the first 49 games after the Padres acquired him from the White Sox in December, but now he’s off the disabled list and jumping right into the cleanup spot for his San Diego debut today.
Quentin put up big power numbers for the White Sox, averaging 34 homers per 150 games, but also missed an average of 43 games per season with injuries and benefited from a hitter-friendly home ballpark.
Already the Padres have seen the oft-injured aspect of Quentin’s game and it’ll be interesting to see how his power translates moving to the majors’ most extreme pitcher-friendly ballpark. So far this season Padres hitters have combined for an MLB-low 18 homers in 1,812 plate appearances, producing a measly .326 slugging percentage.
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.