Arguably the Minnesota Twins’ best player through the first half of the 2019 season, the infielder is staying with the Diamondbacks, signing a 3-year deal.
Despite Minnesota Twins fan’s speculation and hope that he would return to Minnesota in 2019, Eduardo Escobar kicked off the action of the offseason by signing a 3-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, reported to be worth $21 million.
The signing came before Escobar technically became a free agent. MLB rules mandate that players become free agents only after the conclusion of the World Series. The Diamondbacks were able to sign Escobar since he was still under contract with the team. As such, the contract agreement is actually an extension, not a typical free agency signing.
To better understand this stipulation, think of the end of the World Series as what officially marks the beginning of the offseason. For all intents and purposes, a player is still under their 2018 contract until the 2018 World Series concludes, even if their team’s season finished weeks before. Logically, other teams can’t make contract offers to a player while they are still under contract with a different team, no matter if they have 1 year until they become a free agent or 1 day. Imagine the issues that could rise if the Los Angeles Dodgers were allowed to offer a contract to the Red Sox’s Mookie Betts days before the World Series began! Things are a bit more complicated than this in reality (they usually are with the nitty gritty of MLB rules!), but hopefully this serves as a decent simplified explanation.
With the uncertainty surrounding Miguel Sano, the Minnesota Twins currently don’t have a sure thing at third base for 2019. A reunion with Escobar could have filled that hole (and for only $21 million across 3 years, it’s reasonable to think the team would have been happy to have him back), but the Twins will now have to look elsewhere. It would be a surprise to see any free agency signings occur before the team signs their new manager, which could happen as soon as later on this week.
The upcoming free agent class of third basemen is underwhelming, particularly with Escobar no longer available. After Josh Donaldson and Adrian Beltre, the best available options are the likes of Pablo Sandoval, Mark Reynolds, and former Twin Trevor Plouffe. However, there’s no true third baseman in or close to the MLB within the Minnesota Twins organization other than Sano, so the team is sure to be exploring all available options for 2019.