The Angels’ rotation hasn’t been the force we expected it would be this season, even after the Zack Greinke trade last month, but Jered Weaver has managed to be the exception. Until last night, that is.
Weaver was tagged for a career-high nine runs over just three-plus innings as part of a 12-3 loss to the Rays. He served up a solo homer to B.J. Upton in the first inning and a solo shot to Ben Zobrist in the second before allowing the first seven batters to reach base in the fourth. He was replaced by LaTroy Hawkins, who allowed two inherited runners to score on an RBI single by Upton.
Weaver had a start against the Yankees on May 30 where he left in the first inning with a back injury, but otherwise this was his shortest outing of the season. His ERA jumped from an AL-best 2.22 to 2.74 with the clunker. He was handed just his third loss of the year.
Many have assumed that the Angels would at least get one of the Wild Cards in the American League and that may still happen, but they are far from a sure thing right now. With losses in seven out of their last 10 games, they sit at 62-58 on the year, seven games behind the Rangers in the American League West and 2 1/2 games back for the Wild Card. The team’s starting rotation has a 6.00 ERA this month.
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.