Adam Wainwright and Cardinals “not close” on extension

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Last week contract talks between Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals were called “casual” and “ongoing,” but yesterday general manager John Mozeliak indicated that the two sides aren’t close on a long-term extension.

Wainwright is entering the final season of his contract with a salary of $12 million and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that the 31-year-old right-hander may be willing to continue negotiating during the season if necessary.

“I think both parties have a similar goal,” Mozeliak said. “In time, we’ll see if we can work towards it.”

Given his age and the fact that Wainwright is one season removed from Tommy John elbow surgery the length of a potential extension could be tricky, as the Cardinals would no doubt like to limit a deal to two or three years.

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.