Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Wednesday evening that Brian Wilson has begun to turn the corner in his recovery from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. So it stands to reason that the free agent reliever is now starting to talk with teams that want to sign him.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Mets are “showing strong interest” in Wilson and sent general manager Sandy Alderson to a private workout with the right-hander on Saturday. They’re presumably viewing him as a low-risk, high-reward type of guy who could be flipped for youth at this year’s trade deadline if he enjoys a decent first half.
The Mets’ current closer, Frank Francisco, posted an ugly 5.53 ERA and 1.61 WHIP across 42 1/3 innings last summer for New York. He’s entering the final chapter of a two-year, $12 million contract.
Wilson, who should ne near full strength on Opening Day, owns a 3.21 career ERA.
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.