Bobby Valentine sticks up for Adrian Gonzalez, both get tossed

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Does a double ejection count as a bonding experience?

After Adrian Gonzalez was tossed for arguing a pitch in the eighth inning Wednesday against Baltimore, Bobby Valentine took up the complaint on his behalf and was also ejected. The Red Sox went on to lose the game 5-3.

It was just the second career ejection for the usually mild-mannered Gonzalez. At least, mild-mannered on the field. Gonzalez was reportedly the ringleader in calling the meeting that asked for Valentine’s ouster as Red Sox manager, though that’s a claim he denied Wednesday.

Gonzalez’s complaint was that he was quick-pitched by Orioles reliever Pedro Strop on his groundout, a fact that Strop acknowledged after the game. “I haven’t got told that it’s illegal,” he told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli after the game. “So, if it’s been working, I’m going to keep doing it.”

Gonzalez said the pitch should have been ruled a ball, WEEI reports.

“My problem with that is that they all interpret their own way,” Gonzalez said. “Frankie [Morales] does it earlier in the year and they call it a ball. When I talked to the umpire that day they said the hitter wasn’t ready to hit. That’s what we base it on. I wasn’t ready to hit. That’s what I went back to tell [home plate umpire Mike Everitt].”

Valentine agreed, arguing the quick pitch is “dangerous.”

Perhaps it’s a case of too little, too late, but Valentine backing up one of his best players certainly can’t hurt his cause. Too bad it came in yet another loss.

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.