Indians ready to welcome Jason Giambi back

7 Comments

Cleveland will activate designated hitter/bench bat Jason Giambi from the disabled list on Tuesday, manager Terry Francona just announced.

That means Giambi will return from a strained calf without going on a minor-league rehab assignment first. It also means he’ll return to the active roster despite being 0-for-10 on the season and hitting .183 in 71 games last season. For whatever reason the Indians feel very strongly about the value of having Giambi around despite his being 43 years old and last being a productive hitter in 2011.

They re-signed him, they gave him a 25-man roster spot after a broken rib during spring training, and now they’re rushing him back from a stint on the disabled list.

Orioles sign Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.