We’ve had mammo fun with Chipper Jones’ nearly incomprehensible Twitter feed. Today Chris Jones of ESPN the Magazine dives deeper into one of the more unexpected developments of the season:
In hindsight, his first tweet — “Yes, the ol man finally got the twitta!” — was a sign of the weirdness that was to come. The first whispers started: Is Chipper Jones illiterate? Did he get beaned last night? Every night, Jones made Twitter part of his rigid routine, and every morning, a growing band of linguists tried to translate. (There isn’t a name yet for his language. I’d like to nominate Chipperish — Chipper plus English. Also, it rhymes with gibberish.)
Not gonna lie. I’m kind of worried that once Jones retires and doesn’t have anything serious like actual baseball games to reign him in that he’s going to go full-Busey on us.
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.