After seeing brain injuries derail the careers of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Denard Span in recent years Twins fans know all too well that there’s no such thing as, in general manager Terry Ryan’s words, “just a concussion.”
Still, considering how ugly Byron Buxton’s outfield collision at Double-A looked Wednesday night it qualifies as relatively positive news that the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball avoided any other major injuries.
Buxton collided full-speed with the right fielder while trying to make a diving catch and was unconscious for several minutes before being taken by ambulance to a hospital. He’s been placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list, which means there’s a good chance his season is over after just 31 total games, as he previously missed two-months following a spring training wrist injury.
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.