UPDATE: Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe via email that Crawford hasn’t asked for permission and that the team is monitoring the situation.
According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Cherington also said that any decision on surgery will be based on the well being of the player, not the team’s place in the standings.
2:52 PM: Carl Crawford has been playing with a bum elbow for a while and now that the Red Sox are all but out of the playoff race, he’s ready to shut things down.
According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Crawford is planning to ask the Red Sox to allow him to have Tommy John surgery next week.
Crawford began this season on the disabled list following January surgery on his left wrist, but he was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow in April. He finally made his season debut on July 16 and is hitting .287/.313/.500 with three home runs, 19 RBI and an .813 OPS in 29 games played, but surgery was reportedly considered an inevitability.
Crawford’s first two years in Boston have been a bust, but if he undergoes the surgery now, he has a better chance of being ready for 2013. Tommy John surgery usually requires around 12 months of recovery time for pitchers, but position players can come back sooner. Crawford, 31, still has five years and $102.5 million left on his contract.
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.