Jeff Passan talks with Chris Sale and the White Sox. While Stephen Strasburg was shut down at 159 and a third, the White Sox’ young arm is still going at 188. No, Sale never had Tommy John surgery, but he had also never thrown more than 71 innings before this season.
It’s an interesting article, but not because it tells us which approach is right and which approach is wrong with a young starter. Indeed, try this little experiment: Read Passan’s article and check out the quotes from Don Cooper and everyone with the White Sox. Then imagine a future where Sale is facing Tommy John surgery or worse and think how horribly they’ll play. Heck, they’ll be used at a capital trial of those pitching war criminals. Do the same for Strasburg in relation to all of the cautious quotes from the Nats and their fans if Strasburg nonetheless gets hurt. Now reverse it, with both guys being healthy. You can take any and every possible lesson from it depending on the outcome.
The most interesting thing about it all is just how certain the White Sox are that they’re doing the right thing with Sale. And how, earlier, the Nationals were just as certain that they were doing the right thing with Strasburg. Sort of tells you that, no, no one has any freakin’ idea what the right thing is, the only validation, such as it is, that anyone will get is if either of those two get injured in the future, and even then we won’t know whether their treatment caused it, prevented it, was meaningless or not.
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.