Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun Times makes the case that, after a homestand which saw spray-painted outfield grass thanks to multiple rock concerts at Wrigley Field, the Cubs’ management’s priorities are out of whack:
Players were diplomatic about the grotesque look of the field during that homestand and the perception that the use of the ballpark for every possible concert and paid yoga gathering looks more important than the baseball to the top business brass.
That’s right, yoga. Even as the rushed repairs to the Wrigley sod were struggling to take root, a photo was tweeted Sunday of what looked like hundreds of women stretching on yoga mats spread across the outfield grass.
It doesn’t help that the baseball brass has assembled the worst team in the majors to date.
There’s an element of classic false dichotomy here in that it certainly does not follow that a team trying to get extra revenue via non-baseball events is necessarily neglecting the team’s baseball needs. Letting some bands play in Wrigley is not going to unduly harm a massive rebuilding project.
But even if Wittnmyer’s criticism is a bit overheated, it is true that allowing the grass at Wrigley to get messed up is poor form. Cubs fans have very little to cheer for at the moment. They should at least be able to go to a game and see a nice field.
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.