We heard earlier this week that the Rangers were considering moving Alexi Ogando back in the starting rotation. Well, they got the ball rolling in last night’s loss to the White Sox.
Last night’s starter, Yu Darvish, was knocked out of the ballgame after 6 1/3 innings, so Ogando ended up pitching the final 2 2/3 innings. The 28-year-old right-hander allowed two hits and two walks, including an RBI double to Alex Rios and a two-run homer to Alexei Ramirez in the top of the ninth. He ended up throwing a season-high 44 pitches, topping the 39 he threw over three innings in his spot-start against the Giants back on June 10.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, Rangers manager Ron Washington confirmed after the game that they are trying to stretch Ogando as a starting pitcher. If it happens, he would take the rotation spot of Colby Lewis, who is out for the season following surgery yesterday to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The spot is currently being held down by Scott Feldman, who tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox on Monday.
Ogando might not be needed in the rotation at all if the Rangers get someone Josh Johnson from the Marlins or James Shields from the Rays before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but he’s a pretty nice “Plan B.”
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.