Last week we learned that Kyle Lohse hasn’t received any offers as a free agent because of the draft pick compensation attached to signing him and hasn’t talked to the Cardinals since the season ended.
And today Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made it even clearer that Lohse won’t be back in St. Louis, telling KFNS-590 radio “it doesn’t make much sense for us” to re-sign the 34-year-old right-hander.
Mozeliak went on to say that he doesn’t like to completely close a door, but it’s obvious that the Cardinals have little interest in re-signing Lohse given their strong rotation depth without him. That could change if Lohse is still without any offers next month and is willing to come back on the cheap, of course.
Lohse went 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA in 399 innings during the past two seasons, but no teams seem convinced that the Scott Boras client is worth forfeiting a draft pick to sign. He previously turned down a one-year, $13.3 million deal from the Cardinals in the form of a qualifying offer.
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.