Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar is at the center of MLB rumors with the trade deadline closing in. With his team headed for a rebuild, the switch-hitting slugger will likely find himself playing for a contender this summer.
Escobar, 32, is enjoying a rebound season with the Diamondbacks. The veteran third baseman’s production cratered in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, hitting just four home runs in 31 games and posting a .605 OPS. But Escobar has rediscovered his power, gifting the Diamondbacks another trade chip to move this summer.
Even better for Arizona, Escobar’s versatility will attract even more interest. With extensive time at both third base and second base, he’ll be a target for several playoff hopefuls in need of some pop for their lineup.
Let’s examine three realistic trade destinations for Escobar.
Eduardo Escobar traded to Milwaukee Brewers
Even before Travis Shaw dislocated his shoulder, the Milwaukee Brewers were going to be in the market for a third baseman. Milwaukee’s rotation (3.17 ERA) is more than capable of pushing this team toward the postseason, but the batting order isn’t getting the job done. One of Milwaukee’s biggest problems, its third basemen have the lowest OPS (.584) and wRC+ (63).
- Eduardo Escobar stats (FanGraphs): .237/.286/.452, 14 home runs, 41 RBIs, .738 OPS
Escobar is a flawed hitter. The Brewers won’t be able to count on him getting on base regularly, but he produces when presented with run-scoring opportunities. He holds a .850 OPS with runners in scoring position this season, contributing six home runs and 28 RBIs. A trade package of outfielder Tristen Lutz (MIL’s No. 12 prospect) and pitcher Patrick Weigel could get a deal done.
Cleveland Indians bolster lineup
Cleveland’s lineup is preventing it from becoming a legitimate playoff contender and costing games in the AL Central. Even through injuries, the pitching staff is keeping this club above a .500 record. But when the batting order scores the sixth-fewest runs (231) and has one of the lowest OPS (.679) in baseball, a -12 run differential is the result.
- Eduardo Escobar contract: $7.66 million salary (2021)
Escobar’s experience works nicely. There’s an argument for him at second base over Cesar Hernandez, who is doing very little at the dish this season. But if Cleveland wants to keep Hernandez in the lineup, Escobar can play the corner outfield and that’s a huge area of need for this team. Arizona might be asked to cover a portion of Escobar’s salary, given Cleveland’s history, but a deal centered around Ethan Hankins could make sense for both sides.
New York Mets acquire Eduardo Escobar
The New York Mets will be active this summer, that much is a guarantee. Even when the likes of Carlos Carrasco, Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil return from the injured list, more talent is needed. Addressing the bullpen will be a priority, but it’s also clear this regime emphasizes versatility.
Escobar could primarily slide into New York’s lineup against southpaws. he owns a .276/.321/.453 slash line against left-handed pitchers in his career and a .298/.344/.596 line against them this season. Whether the Mets are thin in the outfield, infield or just need a switch-hitting hammer, Escobar can provide all of that for the stretch run.