Royals bring back Alcides Escobar on minor league deal

Lynn Worthy
Kansas City Star
The Kansas City Royals' have acquired 2015 World Series champ Alcides Escobar on a minor league deal.  [AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The starting shortstop and leadoff hitter for the Kansas City Royals’ back-to-back World Series teams in 2014 and 2015, Alcides Escobar, returned to the organization on Tuesday.

Escobar, 34, signed a minor-league deal and will report to Triple-A Omaha, the club announced. If called up to the majors, the deal would pay Escobar the MLB minimum plus an additional $375,000 in performance bonus according to a source with knowledge of the contract.

The 2015 American League Championship Series MVP and a key figure of the World Series championship team that season, Escobar won a Gold Glove and made the AL All-Star team in 2015. In 31 career postseason games with the Royals, he batted .311 with a .326 on-base percentage and a .467 slugging percentage.

He last played in the majors in 2018, and he had stints with the Baltimore Orioles (spring training) and Chicago White Sox in 2019. He played in Japan in 2020.

“Esky” becomes the latest of several members of the 2014-15 Royals to return to the organization in the past two years.

He joins relief pitchers Greg Holland and Wade Davis as well as outfielder Jarrod Dyson, who’ve all returned to the organization. Pitcher Ervin Santana, who spent one season with the Royals in 2013, also signed a minor-league free-agent deal this winter.

Acquired by the Royals via a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers along with pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress and outfielder Lorenzo Cain in exchange for pitcher Zack Greinke, shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and cash in December 2010, Escobar spent eight seasons with the Royals (2011-18).

A free agent after the 2018 season, Escobar signed with the Orioles and went to spring training with them in 2019. However, the Orioles released him before they broke camp.

The White Sox signed Escobar to a minor-league deal and sent him to Triple-A Charlotte where he tied for fifth in the International League in doubles (28), tied for fourth in RBIs (70) and slashed .286/.343/.444 before the White Sox released him on August 2. Last year, he played 104 games for the Yakult Swallows of the Japan Central League and slashed .273/.312/.329.