It is so typical of Major League Baseball. Favoring one group of teams over another. Over totally petty stuff. Like, you know, geography, when it comes to the 2013 schedule:
None of the teams in the Central will travel more than 30,000 next season, while every other team in the league — save for the Orioles — will travel more than 30,000 miles. And the disparity between the least-traveled team (the White Sox) and the most-traveled team (the Mariners) is startling: Chicago will travel only 22,695 miles in 2013 while Seattle will travel more than double that, at nearly 53,000 miles.
OK, I’m just being a jackass. That article by Wendy Thurm makes a good point over and above things that can’t be controlled like mileage between cities: that some teams make more multi-city road trips than others, and some teams make more coast-to-coast trips than others.
Not that she or I is saying there’s anything that can be done about it. There are, after all, about 15 competing priorities when it comes to schedule making. But it is worth noting that our unbalanced schedules are more unbalanced for some than others.
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.