The Kansas City Royals are no longer content to just play like it's 2015; now, it appears, they're committed to bringing back players from their championship roster. On Tuesday, the Royals announced that they had signed veteran infielder Alcides Escobar to a minor-league pact that will see him join their Triple-A affiliate for the time being.
Escobar, 34, has not appeared in the majors since his last run with the Royals ended in 2018. He signed minor-league deals with both the Baltimore Orioles and the Chicago White Sox in 2019, but failed to crack either team's big-league roster. Escobar spent last year in Japan, where he hit .273/.312/.329 with one home run in 402 trips to the plate with the Yakult Swallows. Coincidentally, Escobar played alongside another former Royals teammate with the Swallows, veteran outfielder Nori Aoki.
Should Escobar somehow find his way onto the big-league roster over the coming weeks, he would become the sixth member of the 2015 Royals to be present on the 2021 Royals, joining pitchers Danny Duffy, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland, catcher Salvador Perez, and outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Escobar, the Royals' everyday shortstop between 2011-2017, was an All-Star in the 2015 season and took home ALCS MVP honors during the team's title run.
As noted by Sports Illustrated's Emma Baccellieri, these Royals also share similar ranks to the 2015 squad in various offensive categories. Entering Tuesday, Kansas City ranks first in the American League in stolen bases, last in home runs, and sixth in runs scored. The World Series champion 2015 Royals, by way of comparison, ranked first, 14th, and sixth in those categories.
Of course, if the Royals need a long-term fix on their infield, they're more likely to look to the future than to Escobar and the past. Top prospect Bobby Witt Jr., who was in the running to make the big-league team out of spring training, will begin his minor-league season on Tuesday as part of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals' roster. The Naturals are the Royals' Double-A affiliate.