Eduardo Escobar has become a hot name in Detroit Tigers trade talks
The Detroit Tigers still haven't added a player to the roster on a major league deal. We're about a month and a half out from the start of spring training. The biggest hole continues to be third base, and there aren't any good options left on the free agent market. But one player's name keeps popping up: New York Mets' 3B Eduardo Escobar.
Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic brought it up as a potential option in a recent article (subscription required), and it makes sense. Escobar would be a good fit as a one-year stop gap at third base.
Escobar, who turns 34 today (happy birthday, Eduardo!), is coming off a a 2.3 fWAR season for the Mets in which he hit 20 home runs and put up a 106 wRC+. His best season came in 2018, where he had 3.5 fWAR and a 117 wRC+ for the Twins and Diamondbacks. He also hit 35 home runs for the D'backs in 2019.
Escobar has never been a high walks guy, but he's kept the strikeouts down enough to where it's not a huge problem. His career 6.9% walk rate is passable. He has a tendency to chase, but that's to be expected for someone who's always looking to do damage at the plate.
Escobar would add some much-needed power to the Tigers' lineup. He's also a switch-hitter, which is always nice to have.
His defense at the hot corner is not very good. He's coming off his worst season defensively, being worth -11 defensive runs saved and having an outs above average of -9. But if you're the Tigers, you take the bad with the good, If the bat plays, the defense isn't as much of a concern. If worse comes to worse, they could put someone like Ryan Kreidler or Andy Ibanez in as a defensive replacement late in games.
Escobar would be a nice trade target for the Tigers. He shouldn't be too difficult to acquire. The Mets could use some pitching, whether it be for the bullpen or the rotation. Their rotation is very old. Justin Verlander will be 40 years old this season and Max Scherzer is 38, for example.
Possibly the biggest hurdle for the Tigers to get this deal done is Escobar's salary. He's set to make $10 million this season. It's only for one year, but we know that Chris Ilitch isn't looking to add a lot of payroll. I'm sure Steve Cohen wouldn't mind eating some of his salary, but the Tigers may have to give up additional assets in return in order for that to work.
Finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Carlos Correa was signed to a massive 12-year deal by the Mets to play third base for them, but like he did with the Giants, he's run into some issues with his physical. The Mets are concerned about some long term health issues Correa might run into down the line. We've gotten little to no update on the situation.
Should the deal fall through, that makes it significantly less likely that the Mets would deal Escobar. They need someone to play third base, after all.
We've gotten no indication that the deal will actually fall through, so let's just say Correa is at the hot corner for the Mets on Opening Day. What are they going to do with Escobar? Francisco Lindor plays shortstop and Jeff McNeil is at second base for them. It would seem like a waste to use him off the bench. It would seem wise for them to see if they could trade him to address what few weaknesses they have left.
As far as what the Tigers could offer in a trade, Eduardo Rodriguez is the first player that comes to mind. He would give the Mets a younger starter, even if he only ends up being there for a year. A reliever such as Gregory Soto comes to mind as well.
The Detroit Tigers need to find a third baseman, as Eduardo Escobar seems like the best option still available.