I ran into a cool guy selling cool things yesterday. The guy: Sean Kane, an artist from Ontario, who takes vintage baseball gloves and paints the most wonderful things on them. He had a couple of models with him, but my favorite was the Jackie Robinson number he had with him:
He does these in acrylics, and it takes him a good while. So, not surprisingly, they’re not cheap — we’re talking over a thousand bucks for some of them. But they are certainly unique, cool and smart too. For example, he painted Ernie Banks on an old-style two-fingered glove for “let’s play two.” Kinda dig that. Go check out Sean’s wares and his FAQ if this sort of thing jazzes you.
The Winter Meetings: everyone comes here for the trades and the signings, but there are cool things like this around every corner.
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.