Back in February, the Rangers signed Dominican outfielder Jairo Beras for $4.5 million. This was a problem, because Beras had previously told MLB that he was only 16 and thus was not yet eligible to be signed. Turned out he was, in fact, 17, and thus was eligible to be signed by the Rangers, but that since he lied about his age, he was subject to discipline.
Today that discipline came: he has been suspended for a year. Jeff Passan, who has been following this story for a long time, has all the details. My take: this is good news for both Beras and the Rangers.
It’s good for the Rangers because they could have had the contract voided by MLB, when in fact they would really like to hold on to Beras. It’s good for Beras because if it were voided, he’d be back out on the free agent market, would likely still be suspended and then be looking to sign another deal at 18, and boy howdy he’d get less money then.
So while he can’t play until next July, he can still train at the Rangers facilities and stay with the team and then be ready to start being a genuine pro while he’s still young and stuff.
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.