The Minnesota Twins and utility infielder Eduardo Escobar agreed to a contract to avoid arbitration. Escobar may prove his worth and more in 2018.
The Minnesota Twins were able to make some sort of offseason move on Thursday evening as they avoid arbitration with utility infielder Eduardo Escobar. The Twins and Escobar have reportedly agreed to a to a 1-year $4.85 million deal. With questions looming around Miguel Sano, Escobar may become an even more important cog to the 2018 Twins than initially expected to when the offseason began.
The $4.85 million deal will give Escobar a nice little pay raise from the $2.6 million that he made in 2017. It is just shy of the $4.9 million dollar deal that MLB Trade Rumors had projected Escobar as receiving this offseason. Escobar’s value to the Twins has only increased with the potential of Sano missing games as a result of the major league investigation into the sexual assault allegations against him.
Over the whole of the 2017 season, Escobar hit .254/.309/.449 and 21 home runs. He also saw the most plate appearances of his career with 499 appearances. From August 20th when Escobar took over for Sano through the end of the season Escobar hit .256/.301/.525. Those numbers don’t match Sano’s offensive output, but Escobar held down third base in the lineup well in Sano’s absence.
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Escobar’s real value comes from his defensive versatility. In 2017, Escobar saw the bulk of his time at third base, but also played shortstop, second base, left field, and his first career MLB inning at catcher. Having that type of player on your bench that can go out and give you solid offensive production from most defensive positions is invaluable for a coach since players will always get hurt or need a day off here and there.
There will always be a drop off offensively from Sano and Brian Dozier to a bench player, no matter who comes in to replace them. We may even say the same about Jorge Polanco if he is able to continue his 2017 performance into 2018. The goal is to have someone on your bench who limits that drop off, and that is exactly what Escobar has been able to do for the Twins across their infield, and now he will continue to do so through 2018.
A few days ago we were able to celebrate with Escobar his birthday. Now we get to celebrate his pay raise and the fact that Eddie is going to be staying in the Twins clubhouse. He isn’t necessarily a star player but he is the type of player that good teams have to fill out the bottom part of their roster.