The other day Ozzie Guillen and Bryce Harper got into a pissy little fight over how much pine tar was on Harper’s bat. On Monday, some Nationals’ veterans figured out a good way to defuse it all:
They had the unknowing Harper sign a bat and added a message along with a generous amount of pine tar before sending it to the Marlins’ clubhouse. “It had pine tar all over the place,” Guillen said, laughing. “They put the rest: ‘To my hero, Ozzie. Love you.’ I thought it was funny.”
The peacemakers: Edwin Jackson, who Guillen managed in Chicago, and Adam LaRoche, whose father used to play with Guillen. I suppose all the fuss is over now.
Which, good. But man, this whole “every Bryce Harper controversy turns into a happy little story in the end” stuff is getting a little old. It’s like Clint Eastwood on his farm at the beginning of “Unforgiven,” saying “I ain’t like that anymore.” Eventually something’s gonna happen that’s gonna make Harper kill someone’s wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down, right? Figuratively I mean. Because we can’t escape out nature?
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.