Kerry Wood was back at Wrigley Field over the weekend for a ceremony honoring his Cubs career and it sounds like the recently retired right-hander will eventually be rejoining the organization in some capacity.
“We’ve kicked some ideas around, met with and talked to Theo [Epstein] about it,” Wood said, via Sahadev Sharma of ESPN Chicago. “We’re all kinda on the same page and I’m sure we’ll get something done soon and work out all the details. Definitely want to be around and definitely want to be involved.”
Wood, who retired in mid-May, liked playing for the Cubs so much that he turned down bigger contract offers to return as a free agent in 2011 and has talked previously about thinking highly of Theo Epstein in general.
He also mentioned wanting to see the Cubs bring Sammy Sosa back into the fold at some point, but those odds seem quite a bit longer.
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.