The hot stove will soon be an inferno and the Minnesota Twins will find themselves right in the middle of it all.
The Minnesota Twins will be a popular fallback option for the teams that missed out on Manny Machado. One player to keep a close eye on is Eduardo Escobar. The utility infielder is in the midst of a breakout season and his services will be in high demand.
His versatility is precisely what makes him so valuable. Escobar is capable of playing shortstop and with Machado gone, he’s close to being the next best thing. Although he has his shortcomings at shortstop defensively, he provides above-average depth at both second and third base.
The Dodgers have reportedly landed Machado, so that leaves a few other teams looking at their Plan B…
The Phillies won’t be alone in their pursuit of Escobar and that will benefit the Twins tremendously. Now will be the time for Minnesota to strike a deal if they are indeed selling at the deadline.
Why the Phillies make sense
First and foremost, the Phillies have received very little offensive production from the shortstop position. As a unit, they are hitting .235 with a .284 on-base percentage. They’ve only combined for six home runs and 25 runs batted in with a mediocre .634 on-base plus slugging percentage.
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Current shortstop Scott Kingery has the potential to be an impact player in the future. However, the Phillies are in a pennant race now, and they need production right now. Kingery is young and needs time to grow, while Escobar has been one of the more productive hitters in the American League to this point of the season.
There is also a connection with former Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan. Ryan now works with the Phillies and signed Escobar while he was with the Twins. Ryan saw something in him then, and Escobar’s numbers currently do all of the talking for him.
He’s hitting. 271 with 14 home runs and 51 total extra-base hits. Escobar also sports a .507 slugging percentage to go along with a .834 on-base plus slugging percentage and 57 runs batted in. He has what it takes to help the top/middle of the Phillies lineup.
It’s unfortunate that Minnesota is fading from contention and facing the decision to trade not only Escobar but Brian Dozier as well. Both players are highly respected within the locker room and their presence will surely be missed.
However, it’s time for Minnesota to look beyond this season and into the future. Trading Escobar, among others, will help keep this team on the cusp of contention in the short-term. The next 13 days will be exciting and Puckett’s Pond has you covered.