Shaun Marcum’s return doesn’t sound imminent

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The Brewers just unloaded Zack Greinke for prospects, but they won’t have the chance to do the same with Shaun Marcum.

Marcum is still trying to make it back from a right elbow injury which has kept him on the shelf since mid-June. He made it through a bullpen session earlier this week with no issues, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Jeremy Warnemuende of MLB.com that he “didn’t feel as good” after throwing 15 pitches today.

Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz said Marcum had trouble “getting loose.” And while the veteran right-hander was originally placed on the disabled list with elbow tightness, Kranitz indicated that his shoulder was the issue today. That doesn’t sound like a promising combination.

Roenicke stopped short of calling today’s bullpen session a setback, but it’s clear Marcum won’t be rejoining the Brewers’ rotation in the near future. He’s expected to play catch on Saturday, after which there should be more clarity about the next step.

Marcum, an impending free agent, has a 3.39 ERA and 77/26 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings across 13 starts this year.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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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.