More observations from Hohokam Park

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Sorry I’m all photo crazy today. Just really jazzed to be where baseball is happening and I feel more like soaking it in than thinking too hard about it.  Here’s something to soak in:

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Seven bucks for an Old Style? Yikes. He told me I “looked like an Old Style Man.” I politely declined. I mean, I’m not above snagging a beer while I’m at the park — it’s not like I’d take it up to the press box — but I’m not gonna start in with Old Styles three innings in to my first spring training game when I’m running a monster sleep deficit.

Something else to soak in: Yasiel Puig’s name auto-corrects on an iPhone to “Haskell Lying.”  He also hit the crap out of this ball as I was walking along the concourse:

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I’m really curious to see how Puig does. He hit .330/.430/.581 with 17 homers and a 39/49 K/BB ratio in 327 at-bats at age 19 in Cuba. Many are skeptical about how he projects — and obviously me watching two whole plate appearances from him today means nothing — but he could be a lot of fun.

Random: The Cubs wear their regular season uniforms for home spring training games. I like that a lot. Dress for the job you want. Look the part be the part. More teams should do it. And yes, this is coming from a guy who wears pajamas all day, but (a) I have the job I want; and (b) wearing pajamas is looking the part for this gig.

Also fun: I spent the first few innings in a seat up high along the third base line. Right above me was a party deck with some corporate types, out for a corporate outing at the old ball park. Overheard:

P.A. Announcer: “Now batting for the Cubs, number 12, Alfonso Soriano.”

Man 1: Soriano. Why do I know that name?

Man 2: I think he used to play for the Yankees, right?

Man 1: Yeah. He’s the Yankees second baseman. Or he was. A year or two ago, I think.

Man 2: Yeah.

High beer prices, less-than-plugged-in crowds. But I don’t care a lick because I’m at a ballpark.

Now where’s that Old Style guy? If I can get him down to $5, we may be able to do some business.

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.