More on the Escobar signing

SARASOTA, Fla. - The arrival of veteran infielder Alcides Escobar in Orioles camp, whether today or by Monday’s first full-squad workout, will require him to field questions along with ground balls.

Why the Orioles, who are in a full rebuild that’s been made public and can turn off a player whose career is winding down? Is it because of the late date, or maybe an opportunity that can’t be found in other organizations?

Is he competing for a starting job in the middle infield or third base, or is he vying for a utility job? Has anyone told him?

Why did the defensive metrics plummet to career lows last summer?

What does he bring to the table beyond experience, versatility and durability?

Is he prepared to provide leadership if he breaks camp with the team?

What was the free agent experience like and was he disappointed to accept a minor league deal?

What does he remember about facing the Orioles in the 2014 American League Championship Series?

Who’s his favorite cousin from among Ronald Acuña Jr., Vicente Campos, Edwin Escobar and Kelvim Escobar?

Is a hot dog a sandwich? Seen any good movies?

Baseballs glove.jpgKeeping Escobar on the 25-man roster would make it harder to carry both Richie Martin and Drew Jackson, the Rule 5 infielders competing for jobs at shortstop or coming off the bench. And this is especially true if manager Brandon Hyde goes with a three-man bench that leaves room only for an extra outfielder, infielder and catcher.

We don’t know whether Hyde prefers a short or standard bench, but it’s also worth asking. Better than the hot dog debate.

The signing of Escobar raises the camp roster to 62 players and may seem strange on the surface, a 32-year-old infielder on a rebuilding club. Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has stated that he doesn’t want to block younger players in the organization who need evaluating. But he also wants to improve the talent and depth and Escobar is a low-risk acquisition on a minor league deal.

It won’t be hard to create an opening on the 40-man roster, but Escobar doesn’t require one right away. He’s a nice insurance policy if younger players aren’t deemed ready or trustworthy. He isn’t coming to Sarasota in order to turn the Orioles into an instant contender. A guy with a track record who could allow them to be more competitive, which Hyde wants to see, and give the club more options.

“The message is going to be compete on a nightly basis,” Hyde said after yesterday’s workout. “We’re competing to win every single game. We’re going to prepare, we’re going to out-prepare people and we’re going to compete with what we have and give everybody something to be proud of in our effort.

“Keep doing those things, we’re moving in the right direction.”

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