More fun from Tony La Russa’s book. Not only does he still hold a grudge against Nyjer Morgan, but he holds one against ESPN’s Keith Law. Although, for reasons explained below, it’s a pretty misguided grudge:
That “single writer” who “looked at some metrics” is Keith Law, who infamously left Adam Wainwright off his Cy Young Award ballot (which only allowed for three votes at the time). Except Law leaving Wainwright off the ballot did not cost him the award. Law — like many other voters — did not believe Wainwright was the best pitcher that year so he shouldn’t have voted him first. But even if he had voted Wainwright second or third, he would still have finished behind Lincecum.
So fine, go ahead and blame Law if you want to, La Russa, but just know it would only be the zillionth instance in your career when you got upset about something that is a product of your imagination.
UPDATE: As many commenters noted, La Russa has his facts wrong here anyway. Law had Wainwright on his ballot. He was third. He left Carpenter off. And this was 2009, not 2010.
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.