I thought the worst Tigers news I’d read today was that they’re using Gerald Laird as their DH tonight. That’s bad, but not as bad as this: They just put Doug Fister on 15-day DL, retroactive to yesterday, with a left side strain.
Fister already missed a month or so with a strained abdominal muscle, so these two things are probably related. He’s only made six starts this year. And, while those starts have been effective ones, the Tigers need him in the rotation if they’re ever gonna pull out of this funk.
Casey Crosby will be recalled Friday to start against the Yankees. Which is hilarious, because it means the Tigers fans can scream about their regular starter going down and a kid taking his place and Yankees fans screaming about how badly their team does against unknown lefty starters. Which Yankees fans think is totally unique to their team.
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.