Random middle reliever rumors don’t exactly jazz me, but I like it when they remind me of fun things. So, from Rosenthal:
The Phillies, in their search for a setup man, are asking around about Rangers righty Koji Uehara, whose $4 million salary in 2013 might be more than Texas is willing to pay.
I like Uehara’s game and think he’d be a great guy for a team with bullpen issues like Philly to target. But I’m also reminded of the many yuks he provided when the Rangers considered trading him to the Blue Jays last February:
“The weather is an issue,” Uehara said. “I also know how hard it is to compete in that division.”
It’s pretty special when someone cites the weather as a problem when the team plays in a dome. No word on whether Uehara has no-trade protection to Philly. Or what he thinks of the weather there.
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.