Orioles grant Alcides Escobar his release; Bundy rolls; players association head Tony Clark visits - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles grant Alcides Escobar his release; Bundy rolls; players association head Tony Clark visits

SARASOTA, Fla.-What’s happening? – Infielder Alcides Escobar invoked his opt-out clause and was granted his release from the Orioles.

“It was unfortunate,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Esky’s a pro. We have a lot of infield depth here, and it just wasn’t going to fit.”

Hyde said that Esobar’s departure doesn’t ensure that Rule 5 draft picks Richie Martin and Drew Jackson make the club. The Orioles also have Hanser Alberto and non-roster infielder Jack Reinheimer still in camp.

The 32-year-old Escobar signed a minor league contract on February 16 and would have made $700,000 had he made the Orioles.

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“Ideally, you’d like to have some veteran leadership, but in our situation we’re just trying to acquire and accumulate as much talent as we can in the system,” Hyde said.

It’s not an indication that the Orioles will open the season on March 28 with 13 pitchers and three bench players.

“That didn’t factor into it,” Hyde said. “We still haven’t decided that.”

David Hess will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates today in Bradenton. Hess is scheduled to be followed by Josh Rogers, Mychal Givens and Tanner Scott.

Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Tony Clark met with Orioles players before the game. The Orioles were the 27th team with which Clark has met.

“We’re interested in seeing what they do going forward,” Clark said about the Orioles. “Every offseason, we understand that there are teams that recycle or rebuild…We will be keeping an eye on Baltimore as we do the other 29 teams as well as to what they do in the near term and what their plan is going to be in the longer term to see to what extent further discussions need to be had.”

What’s happened?— Dylan Bundy threw 5 1/3 innings, the longest for any Orioles starter this spring, in a 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Bundy gave up a run on five hits, struck out three and didn’t allow a walk.

“All the pitches tonight, I thought I was executing a lot better,” Bundy said. “Not one in particular.”

Bundy, who might start the final Grapefruit League game on Monday, is satisfied with where he is.

The right-hander is using the Orioles’ analytics and says that they’re not telling him one pitch can be improved.

“Analytics show pretty much every pitch I throw can be better,” Bundy said.

Bundy went to the bullpen to throw additional pitches after he was lifted, and ended up with 80. He’d like to throw 90 in his final start.

“Dylan was outstanding,” Hyde said. “He had a really nice mix. He had a lot of unpredictable pitches in certain counts. He had extra hop on his fastball that he didn’t have early in spring.”

Jimmy Yacabonis allowed four runs, three earned, while retiring two batters in the eighth.

“Just a tough inning for everybody,” Hyde said.

Cedric Mullins had three hits. Mullins and Dwight Smith Jr. homered. Jonathan Villar had a two-run double.

What’s up with? Renato Nunez. Nunez continues to be out because of a sore right biceps. Hyde is hoping he can play today or Friday.

“We’d like to see him play a little more, to be honest with you,” Hyde said.

“He swung the bat well when he was here last year towards the end of the year. That definitely plays a huge factor in the decision-making. I’d love to see him get on the field a little more before we break.”

Nunez and Rio Ruiz are competing for the third base job. 

What’s what? Last July at the All-Star Game, Clark complained that MLB hadn’t engaged the players association in dialogue about rule changes. Last week, rule changes agreed to by the players and MLB were announced.

Clark said he was “cautiously optimistic” that an economic system that’s workable for both sides could be achieved about of the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in December 2021.

What’s the word?I think it was unfortunate that Adam was on the market as long as he was, and that there weren’t teams that weren’t interested in what he brings to the ballpark as a leader on the field and an ambassador off of it.”-Clark on the lack of demand for Adam Jones

What’s the number? .244. Richie Martin’s average after going hitless in four at-bats. Martin had a hot start but has tailed off significantly.

“I’m just trying to get him as many plate appearances as possible,” Hyde said. “He’s going to take stuff from the at-bats and the experience of it.”

What’s the record? 12-12-2. The Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM  Park in Bradenton at 1:05 p.m.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    March 21, 2019 at 7:51 am

    In defense of yacobonis, his defense let him down, 88 couldn’t catch a routine (I know there is no such thing) double play ball, & the catcher couldn’t catch (2 passed balls) neither will make the team, which is understandable, but I was surprised at their lack of skill…

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 21, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Spring training exposes everyone, CalsPals.

  2. Bancells Moustache

    March 21, 2019 at 10:30 am

    The 27th team Clark has visited? They didn’t finish last in something? AIN”T THE BEER COLD!!!

    Sad to see Alcides Escobar end his Orioles tenure, though I take comfort in knowing we are watching the curtain rise on the glorious Hanser Alberto era.

    Fun fact: In 2003 Arte Moreno paid $180 million to buy the LA Angels. In 2019 Arte Moreno paid $430 million to buy the LA Angels Centerfielder. Fellas, you might want to get out there and help your sons work on their swing.

    Good to see Dylan “Juggs Machine” Bundy actually look like a capable professional pitcher. Looking forward to him continuing that momentum and pitching well this year, getting dealt at the deadline and then narrowly edging Kevin Gausman for the 2020 NL Cy Young award.

  3. deqalt

    March 21, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Anyone see Jim Palmer on Dan Patrick’s interview show? I definitely came away with a different option of him. I do think he is misunderstood.

    • Orial

      March 21, 2019 at 11:56 am

      A little dissappointed that Escobar was released(on his own request). A veteran good defense SS is mandatory for this pitching staff,both young and old, to feel confident(if last year told us anything). Martin looks raw,plays a little scared. Hope they don’t come to regret this. Yes that 8th inning was horrible and did expose weaknesses. I like Elias(I think) but don’t want this rebuild to be reckless.

      • Rich Dubroff

        March 21, 2019 at 2:46 pm

        Orial, the rebuild will not be smooth, and won’t be painless. Lots of players will be cycled through. This year will be challenging.

    • Raymo

      March 23, 2019 at 10:45 am

      I didn’t see the Jim Palmer interview. Can you provide more insight? Or perhaps a link?

  4. Birdman

    March 21, 2019 at 10:58 am

    If Escobar had made the Orioles roster and had a good year, he would probably end up signing with another team in 2020, anyway. So it makes sense to focus on developing guys like Martin and Jackson, who may be able to help the team in 2020, 2021, and beyond.

  5. Tony Paparella

    March 21, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I agree with a Birdman but also Orial saying Martin is raw. I would also rather see a Drew Jackson filling in if Martin can’t handle the position right now and that would not happen if Escobar on the team.I also think Dwight Smith should be kept in this organization because I believe he can be a good one. I am not going by yesterday and What Brian Roberts said about Smith’s swing being sweet as I like what he did in Toronto brief stay. My question to Rich is what are the options the Orioles have with Smith?

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 21, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      Smith has an option remaining, so he can be sent to the minors, Tony

      • Tony Paparella

        March 21, 2019 at 10:00 pm

        That is good news to me.I like the guy and hope he can stay in the Bigs, either now or later this year.I don’t see them keeping him now though with the rule 5 guys getting the edge for now.Thanks Rich.

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