As expected the Giants have decided against adding Melky Cabrera to the roster for the World Series and will stick with the same group they used in the NLDS and NLCS.
Cabrera’s exclusion was all but given considering the team’s comments about the situation for the past several weeks, but there was some speculation that San Francisco might add a third catcher in Eli Whiteside.
Cabrera was eligible to return from his 50-game steroid suspension for the NLCS, but the Giants stuck with Gregor Blanco as their starting left fielder. Blanco is never going to equal Cabrera’s lofty .346 batting average during the regular season, but he has gotten on base at a .364 clip during the playoffs.
Still, it’s hard to think that the Giants wouldn’t be better off with Cabrera on the roster, if only as a bench bat.
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.