It doesn’t matter much now, but the controversial Paul Konerko infield single that broke up Jeremy Guthrie’s no-hitter with two outs in the seventh inning Sunday is no more. MLB has ruled the play an error on Alcides Escobar.
As you may remember:
The slow-footed Konerko hit a grounder into the hole at short. Escobar grabbed it, but made a poor throw that bounced high off the dirt and well to the right of the bag at first base. Eric Hosmer was still in good position to make the scoop, but the ball bounced off his glove, and even though the game was in Kansas City, it was ruled an infield single.
Guthrie went on to allow back-to-back singles with two outs in the eighth inning, so the overturned call doesn’t mean much. All it really does is drop Konerko’s average from .315 to .312.
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.