Mark Buehrle’s family won’t join him in Toronto because they can’t take the dog

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Back in November we learned of the dog dilemma faced by Mark Buehrle’s family. They have a pit bull, but Ontario has outlawed pit bull ownership. This meant either getting rid of the dog or Buehrle’s family not joining him in Toronto when the Blue Jays’ season starts.

Jerry Crasnick reports that the family is going to leave Mark on his own:

Mark will spend his 14th big league season in Canada while Jamie lives more than 800 miles away with 5-year-old son Braden, 3-year-old daughter Brooklyn, Slater and the family’s three vizslas, Drake, Diesel and Duke. As the family settles in for spring training in Dunedin, Fla., Buehrle is struggling to accept the idea that togetherness is short-lived and he will be coming home to an empty house in April.

Everyone has to make their own decision, but man. I think I’d find a new home for the dog before I’d willingly spend six months away from my family.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
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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.