Here’s a dose of positive news for the Red Sox.
Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports that third baseman Will Middlebrooks “should not need to have surgery” on his broken right wrist because doctors diagnosed the fracture as non-displaced.
He’s still probably done for the remainder of the 2012 season, but the wrist should make a full recovery and he has a good chance of being 100 percent healthy heading into spring training next February.
Middleboorks, a 23-year-old rookie, posted a .288/.325/.509 batting line with 15 home runs, 14 doubles and 54 RBI over his first 75 major league games this season. Boston has turned to Pedro Ciriaco at third base in his absence. Danny Valencia should also get looks at the hot corner down the stretch.
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.