Good news for people who like fun things. According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is considering selecting Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig for the Home Run Derby on July 14 at Target Field. Tulowitzki is the captain for the National League squad and will pick four players to join him in the competition.
“He’s on the list,” Tulowitzki said. “He’s someone that has a good chance. I’m not going to sit here and say he’s one of the guys I’m going to select, but he’s right up there with the top.”
Tulowitzki spoke highly of Puig’s raw power.
“I think, as you guys from L.A. know, he has tremendous power,” Tulowitzki said. “I’ve seen his BP a couple times. He’s definitely on my list. I’ll probably talk to him here in this series, first of all, see if he’s interested, which, hopefully, he is and we’ll go from there.”
Puig has said he would take part in the competition if he’s invited by Tulowitzki.
This would be awesome, though we would likely have to put up with lengthy delays between swings on account of all the bat-flipping. Still, I think most of us can live with that if that means Puig will participate. Giancarlo Stanton, who leads the National League with 21 homers, is already on board.
On a somewhat related note, Puig hasn’t homered since way back on May 28.
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.