A random observation from last night’s Yankees-O’s game.
In the third inning, Adam Jones singled. It should have scored J.J. Hardy, but Alex Rodriguez deked him into thinking he had the ball and was going to tag him. Hardy stopped at third when he could have scored without a throw. While the Orioles prevailed, in a low-scoring game like last night’s, it could have been a big deal.
Thing about it, though? It in no way should have worked. Watch the play:
Orioles third base coach DeMarlo Hale is frantically waving Hardy around because he knows where the ball is. Hardy, rather than watch and follow his base coach’s direction, got suckered by A-Rod.
John Smoltz — who earlier in the game forgot that the infield fly rule existed — gave A-Rod kudos for the deke. I noticed a lot of people on Twitter did too. And you know that if Jeter had made that move, minstrels would already be roaming the countryside, singing ballads about the play and further burnishing His legend.
But that play was all on Hardy’s lack of focus. It never shoulda worked.
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.