Alex Avila is back in the Tigers’ lineup

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Alex Avila is tough. The guy gets beat up like crazy back behind the plate. I think he takes more foul tips, bats, and general abuse than any catcher I can remember watching on a regular basis. Just the other day he took a ball off the mask and had to have a concussion test. Not only did he not wind up with a concussion but he ended up only missing one single game:

In other Tigers catcher news, backup Brayan Pena has lately spent all of his time on Twitter talking about his “nerts,” which is how he refers to his nipples. I wish I was kidding. I wish I didn’t know that, but those are the sorts of things you learn when you live with a Tigers fan.

Anyway, Pena has taken it next level, to where he is now posting pictures of his son in the bathtub, wearing a gold chain, and raving about his “nerts” too.

 

I feel like Pena would be a fun guy to hang around for a while. But just a for a while.

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.