One possibility that should be considered in the Yunel Escobar eye black thing is that he was the victim of a prank. The problem with that, though?
Mr. Escobar, a 29-year-old native of Havana, Cuba, has been seen at other games this season with different Spanish phrases written on his eye black.
Seriously: how does one put those stickers on without once checking to see if they’re straight? And even if someone else wrote those words on there, how did Escobar not see it before putting them on? Were they face down on the counter? And did he look away when he went to peel off the adhesive?
Finally, if it was a prank that was supposed to be directed at Escobar, one can assume it was meant to be a joke on him by people he knew, and was never meant to leave the clubhouse. In that case: childish, but likely not malicious.
But if Escobar put those words on there himself, for whom was the message intended?
Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.
Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.
It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.
Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.