Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals placed infielder Danny Valencia on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a wrist injury and recalled third baseman Mike Moustakas from Triple-A Omaha in a corresponding roster move.
Moustakas was demoted to Omaha on May 22 after batting just .152/.223/.320 over his first 139 plate appearances for Kansas City. He showed signs of promise on the farm — hitting .355/.412/.548 with a homer and five RBI in 34 plate appearances — but high-level minor league performance is nothing new for the former No. 2 overall pick. Moustakas, who will turn 26 years old in September, batted .322/.369/.630 with 36 home runs and 124 RBI in 2010 between Double-A and Triple-A, and was rated a Top 10 prospect by both Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America heading into the 2011 campaign.
Now it’s about translating that success to the majors. The journey continues.
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.