Friday, January 12, 2018

Contemplating Eduardo Escobar

The Twins announced Thursday an agreement with infielder Eduardo Escobar that avoids salary arbitration: One year, $4.85 million for "Eddie the Stick."

They also announced that Miguel Sano would skip TwinsFest this year because of the sexual misconduct allegation and MLB investigation.

How the Sano situation will play out is uncertain, but I will be quite surprised if the slugger avoids a suspension. Beyond that, the status of his shin, which had a rod implant this offseason, isn't clear either.

Between those two factors, Escobar may be more than a prime bench piece for the Twins again this year.

Escobar turned out to be a different player than expected, although that may have been more about expectations and stereotypes than anything else. The idea when he came to the Twins from the White Sox when the Twins traded Francisco Liriano away in 2012 was that he was a light-hitting, good fielding utility man.

The utility man part has been accurate so far. But he's been more noteworthy for his power than his glove. Last season he hit 21 homers in a little less than 500 plate appearances, which is far more pop than was anticipated five and a half years ago. But his defense is a tick below average at best, and worse than that when pressed into outfield duties.

His on-base percentages aren't good, and the total package is not going to get him on any All-Star teams. But as a Plan B, he's pretty darn useful -- and every team needs a Plan B.

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