Jhonny Peralta Jhonny Peralta

Should Tigers Consider Yunel Escobar?


Tigers fans are clearly not happy with the idea of Jhonny Peralta being the shortstop for another season in Detroit. Some fans acknowledge that the Tigers could certainly do worse, and even those, like myself, aren’t exactly propping up Peralta as the answer. Peralta doesn’t get enough credit for being a solid average major leaguer, but his range deficiency at an important position like shortstop is frustrating. It even becomes more of a problem when you consider the lack of range at third base as well on the Tigers.

September 30, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar (5) beats the tag from New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) in the first inning at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Anyhow, it is being widely reported that recently traded Yunel Escobar is being shopped once again by the fire sale having Marlins. Fire sales are becoming such a regular occurrence for them, that should just be their name. Anyway, while Escobar isn’t the young shortstop of the future that I have been an advocate of the Tigers trading for, he does provide consistently quality defense. His range numbers are consistently above league average, and he even hits on occasion.

But therein lies the problem with Escobar.

He just does things well on occasion. The Toronto Blue Jays, the team Escobar was recently traded from, are the second organization that has given up on the talented player. You see, Escobar has a reputation for being difficult, aloof, and well downright lazy at times. The Braves thought so and made him expendable, despite Escobar flashing considerable skills. And now has been dealt from the Jays, and is already looking likely to be moved from the Marlins.

Defensively, Escobar is worth it. He probably is offensively as well. His career OPS of .743 suggests there is some skill that bat of his. Also, it should be noted that Escobar does seem to do well early when he first starts with his team. He started strong in Atlanta. Then, when he suffered through his terrible season of hitting just .238 in Atlanta before his trade to Toronto , Escobar went on to hit .275 with the Jays the rest of the season, then .290 the following year.

Maybe the Tigers could get a good year or two out of Escobar before he wears out his welcome with the club. These kind of decisions are always a tough call for an organization to make. One, you just never know the veracity of all the rumors about Escobar and his attitude. Though with his talent, and the fact he has been traded twice as a cheap player, the safe assumption is something is there. Then again, it might just be a case of teams wanting him because of his ability.

Escobar would more than likely be a considerable defensive upgrade, and even potentially an offensive one if Peralta doesn’t bounce back, but is he worth the assets and potential negative clubhouse influence and persona?

That is the big question. And I would have to answer no.