Last offseason Edwin Jackson was a 28-year-old free agent coming off a season in which he threw 200 innings with a 3.79 ERA and 148/62 K/BB ratio. He wanted a long-term contract, but ended up settling for a one-year, $11 million deal from the Nationals.
This offseason Edwin Jackson is a 29-year-old free agent coming off a season in which he threw 190 innings with a 4.03 ERA and 168/58 K/BB ratio. He wanted a long-term contract and got it, agreeing to a four-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs.
Setting aside what you think Jackson is actually worth as a free agent, the difference between what he got 12 months ago and what he got this week is very interesting. What changed in that one year? How did Jackson raise his market value that much via one season that was arguably worse than his 2011 and pretty standard for him overall.
Right place at the right time, perhaps. More money flowing across MLB thanks to local and national television deals, perhaps. But still.
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.