Diving Into The Offseason: An Eduardo Escobar Extension?
Image courtesy of Daniel Mick (Daniel Mick Creative)While the priority should likely be working out long-term deals for the young core, like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler and Jose Berrios, etc., it should not keep the Twins front office from also working toward - or at least having the conversation about - an extension for Eduardo Escobar too.
Escobar was offered arbitration by the Twins. It’ll be his third and final arbitration experience. In 2016, he made $2.15 million. After a rough 2016 season, he got a small raise, to $2.6 million, in 2017. After putting together his best season in 2017, he is in line for a big raise in 2018. In the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, we projected that he would make $5.0 million. MLB Trade Rumors predicted he would make $4.9 million.
- In 2017, Escobar posted a career-high OPS of .758, and hit a career-high 21 home runs. But even I was surprised to see that he’s been good in three of the last four years.
- In 2014, he played in 133 games (465 PA) and hit .275/.315/.406 (.721) with 35 doubles, two triples and six home runs.
- In 2015, he played in 127 games (446 PA) and hit .262/.309/.445 (.754) with 31 doubles, four triples, and two home runs.
- In 2016, he played in 105 games (337 PA) and hit .236/.280/.338 (.618) with 14 doubles, two triples, and six home runs.
- In 2017, he played in 129 games (499 PA) and hit .254/.309/.449 (.758) with 16 doubles, five triples, and 21 home runs.
If he performs as he did in 2014, 2015 or 2017, he will be worth a two-year deal. If Miguel Sano is unable to play third base and Escobar is playing there often, he will be well worth the contract.
In addition to his work with the bat and with the glove, Escobar is a tremendous ambassador for the Twins in the community, in both Minnesota and his native Venezuela. For his efforts, Escobar was a finalist for MLBPA’s Man of the Year Award.
Another thing to remember is that Escobar will only be 29-years-old in 2018. He came up as a utility man when he was just 22 with the White Sox. And, remember when we wondered why the Twins weren’t able to get more in return for Francisco Liriano? I think it’s fair to say that the Twins have won that trade by a huge margin.
So, if you saw my 2018 Twins Offseason Handbook, here is what I proposed for an extension for Eduardo Escobar:
- 2018 - $4.5 million
- 2019 - $4.5 million
- 2020 - $4.5 million (with a $0.5 million buyout)
If Escobar ends up playing 125+ games again, $4.5 million will be very fair. If he ends up playing more of a utility role, he will be one of the higher-paid utility infielders in baseball. And, I would venture to say that he is deserving of that.
Since then, I would also say that I would add some achievable incentives, and they would be based on plate appearances. I would add $250,000 for 450 plate appearances. I’d then add another $250,000 for every additional 50 plate appearances. And I would carry that forward through all three years (potentially) of the contract).
In other words, if he gets 450 plate appearances, he makes $4.75 million. At 500 plate appearances, he gets $5.0 million. If he reaches 550 plate appearances, he makes $5.25 million. If he gets 600 plate appearances, he makes $5.5 million.
If the Twins have to pay Eduardo Escobar $5.5 million because he got 600 plate appearances, they would likely be happy to do so. It means that not only is he playing a lot, but that he is hitting high enough up in the order that he’s being very productive.
Of course, a lot of that may depend on the physical status of Miguel Sano. If Sano is back at 100% and able to play third base, the Twins would likely prefer that and it would likely push Escobar back into a utility role.
Personally, I think $4.5 million for Escobar, even as a utility player is bearable. If he plays more, he gets paid more. He’s earned a payday with his performance not only in 2017, but in three of the last four years. He’s shown he’s a professional. He is a leader on the team. He is a competitor, and he’s shown that he will work.
So what do you think? Should the Twins reach out to Eduardo Escobar on a multi-year extension?
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