Tag: Alcides Escobar

Alcides Escobar’s Contract Option to Be Picked Up by Royals: Details, Reaction

Shortstop Alcides Escobar reportedly will return to the Kansas City Royals for a seventh season as the team is reportedly set to pick up his 2017 team option.  

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball first reported the decision, with Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com confirming the report.

According to Spotrac, the 29-year-old veteran will earn $6.5 million during the upcoming season.

Escobar is coming off one of his best offensive seasons, as he hit .261 with 57 runs scored and 17 stolen bases to go along with a career-high seven home runs and 55 RBI. He also appeared in all 162 games for the second time in three years.

Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, Royals manager Ned Yost marveled at the Venezuela native’s ability to compete day in and day out: “He just doesn’t wear down. When he has injuries, he heals extraordinarily fast, so that he’s not out a long time. He’s got a very high tolerance for pain. He doesn’t ever show any effects of it.”

In fact, Escobar has appeared in at least 145 games in seven straight seasons dating back to his final campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 before getting traded to the Royals.

Escobar’s greatest success came in 2015, as he was named to his first and only All-Star team and also won a Gold Glove for the first time.

In addition to that, Escobar was a key part of Kansas City’s run to a World Series championship. He hit .321 with one home run, nine RBI, one stolen base and 13 runs scored, and was named the American League Championship Series MVP.

Escobar averaged nearly 29 steals per season from 2011 through 2014, but he has run less over the past two campaigns and registered just 17 swipes in each.

Also, despite Escobar’s Gold Glove, it is fair to question how great of a fielder he actually is. He posted a career-worst defensive runs saved above average of minus-6 last season, and since his career high of 10 in 2011, he has registered a positive figure just once, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Even if Escobar is somewhat overrated defensively and has become less of a threat on the basepaths, he remains among the most reliable shortstops in baseball.

He shows up to play every day, can be used near the top or bottom of the lineup and proved in the 2015 playoffs that he can come through in clutch situations.

Escobar is a good fit for a Royals team that thrives on being relentless and having flexibility within the lineup, so bringing him back at a fair price was an obvious move on their part. 


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Royals Exercise Wade Davis, Alcides Escobar Options: Contract Details, Reaction

Two key pieces of the World Series champions won’t be going anywhere in 2016. The Kansas City Royals announced on Thursday that they picked up the options for Wade Davis and Alcides Escobar next season.

Davis will earn $8 million, while Escobar‘s contract will pay him $5.25 million.

Keeping both players on the roster was a no-brainer for the Royals. Davis and Escobar have been integral to the team’s success over the last two years, and neither player will have an exorbitant salary for 2016. Davis in particular is a steal, coming in at under $10 million.

The 30-year-old was arguably the best setup man in MLB until he had to fill in for injured closer Greg Holland. Davis saved 17 games in 2015 and recorded a 0.94 earned run average and 2.29 FIP, per Baseball-Reference.com.

As Fox Sports’ C.J. Nitkowski noted, Davis has performed even better in the postseason over the course of his career:

Escobar, meanwhile, hit .257 with three home runs, 47 RBI and 17 stolen bases. He earned MVP honors in the 2015 American League Championship Series after going 11-for-23 with five RBI and six runs scored against the Toronto Blue Jays.

While not a consistent threat offensively over the years, Escobar‘s defense and work on the basepaths helped him remain a fixture in the Royals batting order.

Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore likely only needed seconds before deciding to lock up Davis and Escobar for 2016.

Now, he can focus more of his efforts on holding on to Ben Zobrist, Johnny Cueto and Alex Gordon, who declined his player option and will thus become a free agent, per Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

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Why Travis D’Arnaud Is Key to the Mets Hoisting the World Series Trophy

No New York Mets player will be more active during the 2015 World Series than Travis d’Arnaud

The catcher for the Mets has not yet missed a postseason game. D’Arnaud should, so long as he remains healthy, be behind the plate for every pitch made by the Mets against the Kansas City Royals. The task at hand will be that much more difficult for the Mets if d’Arnaud is not, for whatever reasons, at his best. 

His World Series got off to a rough start on Tuesday night. 

With d’Arnaud crouched behind the dish, Matt Harvey began the bottom of the first inning by tossing a fastball over the plate. Alcides Escobar, to the surprise of nobody who watched him in the American League Championship Series, came out swinging. Escobar smashed a ball deep into center field, and Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes failed to properly communicate on who would play the ball. 

Cespedes followed that up with a pair of miscues that allowed Escobar to complete his journey around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. 

Harvey and d’Arnaud not only needed to be on the same page before Harvey took the hill; both should have realized that tempting Escobar so early in the game was unwise. This point was not lost on ESPN analyst Buster Olney, who immediately questioned the pitch after Escobar scored.

What is particularly upsetting about that early mistake for fans of the Mets is that d’Arnaud has been terrific behind the plate for much of the playoffs. D’Arnaud is currently, per ESPN Stats and Info, the best catcher in Major League Baseball as it pertains to getting strike calls for pitchers. His ability to “frame” pitches during the National League Championship Series earned d’Arnaud praise from analysts and fans.

As Jonah Kari of Grantland pointed out in September, d’Arnaud has not always been known for his defensive skills:

Improvement has come behind the plate, too. As a rookie last season, d’Arnaud led the National League with 12 passed balls (in 105 games behind the plate); this year he’s allowed just one (in 53 games as a catcher). Last year, opposing base-stealers ran wild on d’Arnaud, swiping 58 bags in 72 attempts — marking a lousy 19 percent caught stealing rate. This year, they’ve stolen 26 times in 38 tries, good for a much improved 32 percent caught stealing rate. Amid that improvement, d’Arnaud has remained one of the better pitch-framers in the game, ranking 13th this year (and 14th last year) in that category per StatCorner.com.

The Royals will continue to be aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths during the World Series. It is what has gotten the club to within three wins of a championship. This was not lost on Kevin Kernan of the New York Post as he was previewing the World Series: 

The Royals steal bases, go first to third and even first to home as (Lorenzo) Cain did to send the Blue Jays packing in the ALCS.

The pressure will be on catcher Travis d’Arnaud.

“We just have to execute,’’ he said. “We’re definitely ready for this challenge. We all believe in each other and that’s all we can really do. Get your work in and get your routines down and just go out there and play the game. It’s tough to know what is going to happen. All I can do is be best prepared for it as I can.’’

ESPN’s Olney spotted something concerning while watching d’Arnaud during a Mets’ workout session on Monday:

The Royals tested d’Arnaud and his comfort in the bottom of the sixth of Game 1.

With Kendrys Morales at the plate and the Mets leading 3-2, Cain took a short lead from first. Cain broke for second when it could have been argued that d’Arnaud should have called for a pitchout. The New York catcher came up firing, but the throw from d’Arnaud was late and well off the mark.

Cain scored the tying run later in the inning.

It would, of course, be only a plus for the Mets is d’Arnaud were to catch fire as a hitter during the World Series. The same can be said about anybody in the New York lineup. D’Arnaud is currently batting just .200 in the playoffs, 68 points under what he averaged in the regular season (h/t ESPN). The Mets need better from his spot in the order.

What d’Arnaud will provide the Mets as a catcher, though, could make or break the team during the World Series. 

Calling smart games. Keeping pitchers from being overwhelmed by the moment. Earning strikes for starters and relievers. Preventing the Royals from taking extra bases. D’Arnaud must be spot-on in these aspects. He wasn’t in Game 1, and the Mets lost. 

He will hope to have at least four more nights to redeem himself. 

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Why Alcides Escobar Will Come Through for the Royals in the AL Wild Card Game

With two stud pitchers on the mound in Jon Lester for the Oakland A’s and James Shields for the Kansas City Royals in the American League Wild Card Game, it can be expected that runs will come at a premium for either side on Tuesday in Kansas City.

Unfortunately for both teams, that has already been the theme for quite some time.

After trading away slugger Yoenis Cespedes on July 31, the A’s were held off the scoreboard seven times, while the Royals finished the season ninth in the AL in runs scored and don’t have a single player with 20 homers and 75 runs batted in on the season.

So it’s safe to say that the way to win this game is by playing small ball, and that’s where the edge starts to tilt toward Kansas City.

The Royals had 33 sacrifice hits and 47 sacrifice flies on the season, while the A’s had 19 sacrifice hits (tied for the fewest in the majors) and 43 sacrifice flys, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Kansas City also stole the most bases among teams in the majors with 153 on the season, while Oakland had just 83.

One of the key catalysts for the Royals offense is shortstop Alcides Escobar, and he is expected to have a big game on Tuesday against Lester.

In 17 career at-bats against the Oakland southpaw, Escobar has a .353 average with six hits and no strikeouts. This season, Escobar was 3-for-7 off Lester. 

Escobar has also found success since manager Ned Yost moved him from the bottom of the batting order to the leadoff spot in mid-September.

In the 16 games he hit from the top spot, Escobar batted .362 with a .478 slugging percentage. Yost announced Monday during a press conference that the shortstop with 31 stolen bases on the season will again hit leadoff in the AL Wild Card Game.

In these winner-take-all games, a Game 7 mentality is required for everyone. While the stars are expected to perform at their best, it’s often the players who fly under people’s radars that end up making a name for themselves in October.

On Tuesday night, expect Alcides Escobar to become one of those players.

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2011 Fantasy Baseball Waiver-Wire Gems: American League

Derrek Lee, 1B Baltimore Orioles (26 percent owned in Yahoo, 28.8 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .247 AVG/26 R/5 HR/19 RBI/2 SB

Lee has certainly not lived up to expectations so far in 2011, but his bat seems to be coming alive. In the past seven games, Lee has hit .438 with five XBH and six runs.

He has been shuffled between the fourth and sixth spot in the lineup, so if he can stay healthy, he should help your team in AVG and RBI.

Projection (rest of season): .283 AVG/39 R/11 HR/44 RBI/2 SB


Alexi Casilla, 2B/SS Minnesota Twins (28 percent owned in Yahoo, 55.6 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .260 AVG/32 R/2 HR/15 RBI/11 SB

Casilla has been on fire for the past month. Since May 24th he has hit .327 AVG/9 R/2 HR/11 RBI/8 SB. Casilla is currently batting second for the Twins and he should stay there. I don’t expect him to hit .327 for the rest of the year, but he should be a solid contributor in AVG, R, SB. 

Projection (rest of season): .280 AVG/36 R/4 HR/23 RBI/11 SB


Jemile Weeks, 2B Oakland Athletics (20 percent owned in Yahoo, 35 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .305 AVG/11 R/0 HR/6 RBI/6 SB

Weeks started out with a .400 BABIP and one walk in 44 AB. Since then he has shown more patience at the plate with four walks in 19 at bats and he is batting leadoff for the Athletics.

The stolen bases is a huge plus, but it will only be a matter of time before pitchers start adjusting to him. Pick him up while he is hot but don’t expect a long-term fix.

Projection (rest of season): .260 AVG/26 R/2 HR/19 RBI/10 SB


Alcides Escobar, SS Kansas City Royals (29 percent owned in Yahoo, 73.5 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: .246 AVG/34 R/1 HR/21 RBI/12 SB

In the minors, Escobar was an annual three category producer in AVG, R and SB. When called up by the Brewers, he was planted in the eight hole where he was unable to showcase his true potential.

Now that he is batting ninth for an AL team, he will have more opportunity to steal bases and score runs. Since June 7th he has hit, .411 AVG/13 R/8 RBI/6 SB. I would rather roster Escobar than Chone Figgins, Gordon Beckham, Darwin Barney and Omar Infante.

Projection (rest of season): .265 AVG/40 R/2 HR/27 RBI/15 SB

Carlos Carrasco, SP Cleveland Indians (39 percent owned in Yahoo, 47.1 percent in ESPN)

Current Stat Line: 7 W/4 L/53 K/3.62 ERA/1.21 WHIP

Carlos Carrasco, a regular on “Spot Starting,” has been untouchable on the mound in his last four starts. During that time he has thrown 29.2 IP/2 ER/21 K/5 BB. His current K/9 sits at 5.48, but last year it was at 7.66 even though his current SwStr% of 8.4 is nearly identical to his 8.7 mark in 2010.

Expect a slight uptick in strikeouts. 

Projection (rest of season): 6 W/4 L/78 K/3.5 ERA/1.20 WHIP


For other entries in our waiver-wire gems series, click here!

Brian “Killboy” Kilpatrick is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com, where this, and other work, can be found. Additionally, he is co-host of The 4th and Home Show on Blog Talk Radio.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011: One Draft Sleeper from Every Major League Team

This is sort of like last minute Christmas shopping. Here is one final tip for you before you have your fantasy baseball league draft. Sorry but I can’t stop you from picking a bunch of stiffs. What I can do is give you a few ideas as to which “sleepers” might be able to help your team in spite of your other draft picks.

There have been a ton of injuries this Spring, so some of these sleepers may get an early start. I have my own draft on Sunday, so I’ll be reading this too when I’m done writing it. I’ve heard the phrase, “maybe you should take your own advice” before, so I just may have to do that.

None of these guys are Rumpelstiltskin sleepers, but they will probably go late in your draft and a few maybe not at all. I listed the teams by division starting with the National League. Without further ado, here they are.

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Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers in Exchange for Prospects

The Kansas City Royals agreed to trade starting pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for five players, reports ESPN.

The deal would involve the Brewers giving up Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.

In return, they get 2009 Cy Young winner Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt, along with some cash.

This deal certainly makes sense for both teams.

Kansas City sure isn’t in a position for a playoff run with Greinke, so they might as well have gotten prospects for maybe five years in the future.

Escobar, a 24-year-old shortstop, completed his first big league season just this year, finishing with an average of .235. On the positive side, he has hit 10 triples. This guy still has the potential to become an above-average everyday shortstop.

Lorenzo Cain is the main part of this deal, being a big time prospect. He hit .317 last year between Double A and Triple A. Add 20 stolen bases and a .400 OBP, and you’ve got something special.

Odorizzi is a pitcher that is at the Single A level as of right now, pitching to a 3.43 ERA.

Jeffress jumped throughout the Brewers organization, between Single A, Single A-plus, and Double A, posting a 1.26 ERA at Double A to finish the season.

This opens up a more positive future for Ned Yost and his club.

On the other side, Betancourt is just an average everyday shortstop, posting a .259 average and driving in 78 RBI.

And as you know, Zack Greinke will solidify the rotation along with another newly acquired Shaun Marcum.

Greinke might end up like Roy Halladay, who thrived even more in the National League with a Cy Young Award to his resume.

Also, Milwaukee isn’t a place with New York style media, making it a good place for Greinke, considering the fact that he deals with social anxiety disorder.

The Brewers aren’t in the rebuilding stage, either unlike the Royals.

It’s a win-win trade for both clubs.

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Zack Greinke Traded To the Milwaukee Brewers: The Fallout

According to ESPNs Buster Olney (click here for the article) the Royals have traded Zack Greinke and SS Yuniesky Betancourt to the Milwaukee Brewers for SS Alcides Escobar, OF Lorenzo Cain, P Jake Odorizzi and P Jeremy Jeffress.

The Brewers paid a hefty price, but certainly got their money’s worth.  With a one-two punch of Greinke and Yovani Gallardo at the top of the rotation, with Shaun Marcum filling the No. 3 spot, the team suddenly has a formidable rotation that should help them compete in the NL Central.  It certainly would appear that they are going for it in 2011, making a potential Prince Fielder trade significantly less likely (unless they are out of it at the trading deadline).

Greinke would’ve been considered among the Top 20 starting pitchers if he spent the year in Kansas City, but moving to the NL certainly helps his value.  His K/9 fell to 7.40 last season, but a rebound to 8.00 or better could easily be in the cards now. 

You also would’ve expected an improvement from last year’s 4.17 ERA (he did suffer from some bad luck, with a 65.3% strand rate), but a move to NL should make it a lock and potentially significantly so.  We have more strikeouts, a better ERA and a significantly better opportunity for wins.  What’s not to like?  He came it at No. 17 in our most recent starting pitcher rankings (click here to view), but certainly moves up a few spots now.  Consider him a low-end SP1/high-end SP2 now that he’s found a home in the NL.

As for the other players moved in the deal, Escobar figures to get the biggest boost in value.  He leaves a place that rarely gave him a chance to run (as well as hit him at the bottom of the order), to go to a team where he will get a shot to leadoff and show off his wheels.  Remember, he had 42 SB in 430 AB at Triple-A in 2009, before attempting just 14 SB in 506 AB for the Brewers last season.

The Royals are a rebuilding team looking for a sparkplug at the top of the order and Escobar certainly brings that potential.  They have no illusions of competing in 2011, so he should be given every chance to grow into the role, where he could thrive for years to come.  He was a Top 15 option prior to the trade (click here to view), but now could easily be considered a low-end Top 10 option and is likely usable in all formats.

Cain will join a crowded outfield, with Alex Gordon, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur.  Jarrod Dyson, who was thought to be in the mix for the centerfield job and leadoff spot is probably now ticketed back to Triple-A.  Cabrera and Cain could share time in center, but we all know Cabrera is not the greatest of offensive threats.  Cain at least brings some speed (33 SB across three levels in ‘10) and could be a low-end option in five-outfielder formats if he wins the job outright (as he should).  He certainly brings more to the table and should see plenty of action.

Odorizzi was in Single-A in 2010 going 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA and 135 K in 120.2 innings.  Prior to 2010 Baseball America ranked him as the Brewers ninth best prospect, saying “His free and easy delivery and good extension allow his heater to get in on hitters quickly, and it features good sink and armside run. He also features a curveball that’s a plus pitch at times. He throws strikes and shows good poise and competitiveness.”  The 20-year old is still a ways away, but he has plenty of potential.

Jeffress has had problems with illegal drugs in the past and has been transitioned to the bullpen, but throws the ball extremely hard (has been said that he’s hit 100 mph with his fastball).  He posted a 2.70 ERA with 8 K in 10 innings for the Brewers in 2010 and figures to slide right into the Royals pen.  Could he develop into a back-end type option?  In time, but I wouldn’t expect him to get there yet meaning he is not likely to have fantasy appeal in 2011.

Both teams got significant value, with Greinke and Escobar likely being the biggest winners.  What are your thoughts?  Who won?  Who lost?

Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings:


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MLB Breaking News: Milwaukee Brewers Win the Zack Greinke Sweepstakes

Two Milwaukee websites are reporting the Milwaukee Brewers have tentatively reached an agreement with the Kansas City Royals to acquire right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke. The trade is pending a physical by Greinke and could be announced on Monday.

Earlier in the offseason, it was thought the Brewers didn’t have the proper pieces to complete a trade for the former AL Cy Young Award winner. In fact, the Brewers traded their top prospect, Brett Lawrie, to the Blue Jays for starter Shawn Marcum.

In turn, the Brewers will send shortstop Alcides Escobar, centerfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitchers Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi to the Royals. Escobar was thought to be the shortstop of the future, which led to the trade of J.J. Hardy to the Twins last offseason for centerfielder Carlos Gomez. Gomez was splitting time in center with Cain this season, who was also mentioned in trade talks with the Atlanta Braves.

Jeremy Jeffress has been a top pitching prospect for the Brewers for several years, but he has had problems with substance abuse and has twice been suspended for marijuana use. Jake Odorizzi was ranked as the organization’s top-rated pitching prospect, but he’s never pitched above low Single-A ball for the Brewers.

Greinke would pair with Yovani Gallardo to form a very formidable one-two punch for the Brewers. Along with the recently acquired Marcum and a returning Randy Wolf, the Brewers would suddenly have four very capable starting pitchers. Are they the equal of the Four Aces in Philly? Of course not, but the Brewers would certainly have the pitching ammunition to compete with the Cardinals and Reds for the Central Division title in 2011.

If nothing else, give Brewers GM Doug Melvin credit for being a man of his word. His stated goal during the past two years has been to improve the pitching. He only brought in one quality starter last winter, but with Marcum and possibly Greinke this year, he has turned the Brewers into a very balanced team.


To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here.

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Milwaukee Brewers Young Guns, Part II: Hello, Alcides Escobar

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who had the chance to read into our first player introduction of the offseason.  Informing the fans is our number one priority here at Bleacher Report.

Now, let’s take a look at the Milwaukee Brewers’ newly added defensive phenom, shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Although you may already believe to know enough about him to get by, let me be the first to tell you that you are indeed, mistaken.

Born on December 16, 1986, Escobar was declared early on as a future baseball star.  Growing up in the tiny town of La Sabana, Venezuela, helped in his early-life baseball pursuits.

Kniown for his extreme base-running speed and skills, Doug Melvin and the Milwaukee Brewers were severely interested from the very beginnings of his young career.

The 6’1”, 180-pound frame is clearly makes Escobar one of the most peculiar shortstops in the major leagues.  Along with not attending any college, Escobar is certainly one of the more un-prototypical players in the league.

After being signed by Milwaukee as an international free agent in 2003, Escobar split time between Single-A and Double-A.  Contributing his efforts in 63 games for Single-A Brevard County, as well as 62 games with Double-A Huntsville was Escobar’s official “commencement” time period.  Hitting for a combined .306 BA, with 1 HR and 53 RBI was one of the many reasons why his talents were initially noticed by Brewers’ personnel.

On September 1, 2008, Escobar was called up to the majors for the first time of his young, promising career as a defensive replacement for then starter J.J. Hardy.  In that same game, the growing Escobar recorded his first career hit.

In 2009, Escobar in the MLB future’s All-Star Game, as the starting shortstop for the World Team.  Let it be known he went 2-for-4, including the go-ahead run for the World Team All-Stars.

Following his impressive performance in the Future’s All-Star Game, Escobar was called up from AAA Nashville to replace J.J. Hardy, who would later be traded to the Minnesota Twins later that season.

In 2010, Escobar was able to total up 41 RBI, 4 HR to go with a .235 batting average.  However, the enphasis on Escobar is not primarily his offense, but his defense.

Formerly one of the most touted young defensive shortstops in the minor leagues, Escobar was able to maintain a .964 FPCT (fielding percentage).  

Seemingly making jaw-dropping plays left and right in only his 1st season as a regular starter, Escobar is already making a name for himself within clubhouses around the major leagues.

As for his role within the Brewers in 2011, Escobar is undoubtedly the starting shortstop until further notice.

Rest assured, Escobar’s importance to Milwaukee’s NL Central title hopes is absolutely vital.  He is certainly a diamond in the rough.

Make sure to get all your Brewers’ breaking news, articles, and updates at Brewers Daily

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