Report: Giants targeting Indians’ Asdrubal Cabrera, Mike Aviles

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The Giants, in need of infield help, have been considering shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and utilityman Mike Aviles as trade options, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Giants recently got Marco Scutaro back from the disabled list, but he has played in just one game since being activated on July 11.

Cabrera, 28, is earning $10 million this season and is eligible for free agency after the season. To date, he has posted a mediocre .250/.310/.399 with nine home runs and 38 RBI. As Cabrera is subpar defensively at shortstop and the Giants already have a productive Brandon Crawford, they would likely opt to put Cabrera at second base if they happened to acquire him.

Aviles, 33, is earning $3 million this season. His contract includes a $3.5 million club option for 2015 with a $250,000 buyout. He has played at five different positions this season: third base, second base, left field, shortstop, and center field. At the dish, he has compiled a .269/.287/.358 with three home runs, 23 RBI, and eight stolen bases.

The Indians may not decide to sell, however. They enter Saturday’s action at 48-47, 6.5 games out of first place in the AL Central. A good week could prompt them to gear up for a playoff push instead.

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.