16h28 : It’s a $ 20 million guarantee, reports New York Post’s Joel Sherman (on Twitter).
16h24 : The Mets and free field player Eduardo Escobar agree to a two-year deal, pending a physical exam, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (lien Twitter). It’s the first major strike of the offseason for the Mets, who recently appointed Billy Eppler to lead their baseball operations department.
Escobar covers the Mets with three positions in the infield, having just completed a season in which he recorded over 100 innings on each of the first, second and third goals. He also had an extended run as a shortstop earlier in his career, but has only played two innings in the past three years. Escobar is not considered a particularly strong defender on diamond, but he is at least able to bounce between a few points on earth.
While that defensive versatility is a nice bonus, the calling card with Escobar has been his bat. He’s been an above-average hitter by wRC + measure for each of the past three full seasons, unexpectedly turning into a power threat at the end of his career. While he only hit 27 home runs in his first 1,620 major league appearances, Escobar found other equipment in that department in 2017. He hit 21 home runs in 499 trips to the flat that season, and he’s hit between 23 and 35 longballs with an above -ISO average (slugging less batting average) in the full three campaigns since then.
Escobar achieved this increased impact without sacrificing much in terms of contact. He’s maintained his strikeout rate at around 20% over his career, about three percentage points below the league mark. Its contact and swing strike rates also hovered around average. And the switch-on Escobar does well on both sides of the plate. Going back to early 2018, he’s a .283 / .333 / .482 hitter against the left-handed pitcher; his mark of .249 / .311 / .473 against righties in that same stretch isn’t as impressive, but still sits around the league average production on his weaker side.
There’s a lot to like about Escobar’s attacking game, although he’s not completely flawless. The Venezuelan native had a terrible 0.212 / .270 / .335 showing more than 222 plate appearances in the truncated 2020 season. He bounced back to deliver a more typical .253 / .314 / .472 exit between the Ds. -Backs and the Brewers in 2021. This has clearly erased some doubts about Escobar’s struggles in 2020, but he will be 33 in January. And even at his best, Escobar has an aggressive approach that slashes his walk rate and leads to base percentages close to the league average.
Escobar is coming out of his first career All-Star selection, but that nod was also influenced by the rule requiring an All-Star representative from each team and his presence at a lackluster Arizona club. He’s more consistent than the star, but Escobar has been rated at around three wins above each replacing Baseball Reference and FanGraphs in 2018, 2019 and 2021. The Mets will look forward to more of the same stability in the seasons to come. , and Escobar’s versatility allows Eppler and his staff to be flexible in building the infield around him.