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Royals re-sign Alcides Escobar

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While you contemplate which Milwaukee Brewer shirt to buy for the upcoming season — and you should pick up the Brewers as your secondary rooting interest given that they, unlike almost every other team, are trying to improve themselves — I pass along some news of another club just sort of spinning its wheels.

Robert Murray of FanRag says that a deal is done between the Royals and Alcides Escobar, pending a physical.

This is the same Escobar who has hit .256/.286/.343 over the last three seasons in Kansas City. He can still pick it and is as durable as all get-out, but one wonders why they wouldn’t just give the shortstop job to Raul Mondesi Jr., who hit .305/.340/.539 at Triple-A last year and look to the future.

What do I know? I think teams should sign and play good players.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.