After hitting just .204 in 34 games for the Brewers’ Triple-A team this season former big leaguer Jay Gibbons has announced his retirement at age 35.
Gibbons was a fixture in the middle of Baltimore’s lineup from 2001-2007, but the Orioles released him with more than $10 million remaining on his contract when he was named in the “Mitchell Report” and suspended for the beginning of 2008. Gibbons resurfaced with the Dodgers in 2010 and 2011, but saw limited action as a role player.
Gibbons had 25-homer power, but it came along with low batting averages and poor plate discipline. Overall he hit .260 with a .315 on-base percentage and .453 slugging percentage in 840 games, homering 127 times.
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.