Odd move: Tigers place Ryan Raburn on 15-day disabled list

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This being September, there’s absolutely no advantage to be gained by placing a player on the 15-day disabled list. Yet that’s what the Tigers did Thursday, placing Ryan Raburn on the DL with a strained right quad.

Typically, teams only use the 60-day disabled list in September, as stashing a player there frees up a 40-man roster spot. Putting a player on the 15-day DL doesn’t do anything except guarantee that said player can’t be used for 15 days. Which would seem to be precisely what Dave Dombrowski wanted to accomplish here.

Raburn is hitting a horrendous .171/.226/.254 with one homer and 12 RBI in 205 at-bats. He’s also a subpar defensively at second base, the position he’s played more frequently this season. So it’s easy to see why upper management apparently doesn’t want him anywhere near the field.

Manager Jim Leyland, however, had given him two starts since he was brought back from the minors on Sept. 1. He was 1-for-7 with a walk in those two games, both Tigers losses. Overall, he was 1-for-8 this month.

The move was made retroactive to Sept. 11, so Raburn will be eligible to return on Sept. 26. However, his Tigers career is most likely finished. He figures to be non-tendered this winter after such a disappointing season.

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.