We already know that Carlos Beltran is awesome, but now he’s historically awesome.
Beltran is the first switch-hitter in major league history to amass 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases. He accomplished the feat by stealing second base in the second inning last night. Appropriately enough, it was against the Royals, the team which selected him in the second round of the 1995 draft.
Beltran is the eighth member of the 300-300 club, joining Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Steve Finley, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Reggie Sanders. But he’s the first switch-hitter in the group.
Mike Still of MLB.com reports that the second base bag was pulled off the Busch Stadium infield and awarded to Beltran in the clubhouse after the game. The 35-year-old outfielder is considering sending his spikes from last night’s game to Cooperstown.
Beltran is off to a fantastic start with the Cardinals this season, batting .301/.384/.603 with an NL-best 19 home runs. He has 321 lifetime home runs.
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.