Fisticuffsmanship! The Mississippi Braves and Mobile Baybears throw down

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We don’t see that many full-blown fights in major league baseball these days. Everyone knows the potential costs aren’t worth the benefits, I suppose. Or else they’re all friends and stuff.  But the minor leagues still give us a good fracas now and again.

On Saturday it was the Mobile Baybears vs. the Mississippi Braves. There were two out in the bottom of the ninth when a wild pitch caused the Braves’ pitcher to have to cover home plate as a Baybears tried to score from third.  The runner took out the legs of the pitcher and then …

I’ll say this much: normally in a fight that involves a pitcher you see the pitcher sort of back off and other players come in to mix it up. It was interesting then to see Braves pitcher Michael Tarsi take the lead here.

Not that I approve of course. Say no to violence. Stay in school. Only you can stop forest fires, etc.

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.