Last year, Escobar received just 179 plate appearances, but also had one of the most memorable plate appearances of the season, when he laced a walk-off double to give the Twins their first win of the 2013 season. That 1/179 exciting moments ratio led the team, I'm quite certain.
Anyway, I think Escobar has something. I see it when I watch him. He just has an "it" factor that makes me want to look even closer. Not in a weird way. I think it's worth finding out if I am correct also. Therefore, I am starting a campaign called "The Eddie 400," at least until someone finds evidence that he hates being called "Eddie." I made a logo and at the end I'll explain how you can also support this important promotion.
Before that, I want to make sure this is truly something we all believe in. Therefore, I have come up with a handful of valid reasons to give Eduardo Escobar 400 plate appearances in 2014. Read on!
He's a switch hitter
This guy can bat right-handed and left-handed! How impressive is that! Some guys on this team can barely bat with their dominant hand, much less both. In fact, last year he barely had a platoon split. He hit roughly .270/.333/.430 from both sides of the plate. Most of his damage was done at AAA, but he didn't get regular playing time in the majors, which is totally not his fault. DON'T LOOK AT HIS MLB SPLITS.
He's always smiling
See, look at that winning smile! He has an infectious personality, that is apparent. Oh, you're not convinced with one picture. Well, here's a photo collage I made:
See, winning smile. It's prevalent. This guy will make the clubhouse happier. A happy clubhouse is a healthy clubhouse. He won't be that happy playing once a week. No one would be. He certainly can't infuse the clubhouse with smiles from Rochester.
He has defensive versatility
It's not just that Escobar is good at defense; he also plays a lot of positions. He's primarily a shortstop, but he can handle second and third too. He can even serve as an emergency catcher! I'm pretty sure he could play in the outfield too. What versatility!
Brian Dozier is the second baseman, but even he needs a day off here and there. When he does, BAM!, enter Escobar. Say 10 games. That's 40ish PAs; we're 10% to 400. Trevor Plouffe needs days off too and he might need some DH time to boot. BAM!, more Escobar. Say 25-30 games, 100 PA, and we're nearly halfway there.
Hello Pedro Florimon. I like you. I even wrote about why I like you before last season. Read it! That said, hitting is not your strength and your fielding can be inconsistent. BAM! MORE ESCOBAR!! If they simply split roughly 125 games, Escobar would get 60ish, with 200 or so PA and we'd be on the verge of 400 plate appearances. See, Escobar's defensive versatility practically screams for more PT.
I can feel his charisma from my couch. When he's on the field, he's vibrant. When he's in the dugout, he shines. When he's in the clubhouse, he...well I don't know because I'm not allowed. When he's in Rochester, he's sad. Just look at his face, even after being named Player of the Week:
Scroll up and look at the collage again. LOOK AT IT! Which Escobar do you want?
Escobar will be 25 next season. He's two full years younger than Pedro Florimon. I don't want this to become an indictment of Florimon, but we all know his shortcomings. It's possible Escobar has similar shortcomings, but he's two years younger so it's at least a bit more likely that he can develop and overcome those shortcomings. You are what you are at 27; the world is your oyster at 25. Think about it.
He's approaching arbitration eligibility
Tick Tock. That's Escobar's free agency clock and it is ticking away dangerously. He's out of options and if he spends the entire year on the major league roster, he'll be right on the edge of being a Super-2 arbitration case. If the Twins don't figure out what they have in Escobar this season, they'll never know. I'm not sure they can deal with that kind of regret. Regret is a powerful emotion.
He's popular and beloved
I found an article from Mike Berardino last March that has some really great Escobar-related quotes. I'll just share them without comment.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan: "He's a pretty good baseball player, it looks like to me," Ryan said. "He's got some energy. He can steal a base. He's all right."
Former Twins reliever Luis Perdomo: "I don't like snakes, but I like Escobar," Perdomo says. "He's a pretty good guy, a funny guy. He's happy all the time, never angry."
Also, we find out in that article that Escobar is close friends with the Guillen family. BONUS POINTS!
Here are some quotes from another article, this one from ESPN, after Escobar was traded to the Twins:
White Sox DH Adam Dunn: “He’s such a good kid,” Adam Dunn said. “He’s such a good part of this team. He keeps everybody loose and we really enjoyed having him. He’s a lot of fun. They’re going to really enjoy him over there.”
White Sox OF Jordan Danks: “He’s definitely going to be missed,” Jordan Danks said. “When I first signed in ’08, he and I came up together so I’ve played with him pretty much at every level. He’s the same guy that I met whenever I first signed. He’ll be sorely missed.”
White Sox Manager Robin Ventura: “I think it’s a little tough in here after a good win like this because Escobar’s a big part of what we’ve been doing,” Robin Ventura said. “It’s more than just numbers and how you play, it’s the attitude he brings. It’s a tough one team-wise. He’s kind of like a little brother or a son to most guys.
The Twins love him too; remember the "C'mon" story? Here's the Berardino article and I'll just give you one Gardenhire quote for free: "I don't know what he says half the time, but I love him," Gardenhire said Sunday. "He just entertains me. He's one of the happiest guys I've ever seen at the ballpark. Always smiling, always laughing."
Everyone loves this guy, now let's let him play some baseball!
Final quote, from the first article and from Escobar himself: "When you're happy, be happy. You get a base hit in the game, be happy. I'm always happy playing."
I love him.
Finally, why not?
Really, what do the Twins have to lose? Games? They've done that already. Plenty. Why not see what they have in the guy they traded Francisco Liriano for? Escobar is billed as a solid, if not better defender. Florimon is a great defender, but could Escobar be better? One thing I know for certain, Escobar is just as likely to post a 68 wRC+ as Florimon did last year. Plus, he's two years younger, has a winning smile, is loved by his teammates and manager and I already made the logo.
There's simply no downside here. The 2014 Twins aren't making the playoffs, so why not see what they have in Escobar? It's a shark move. The New Terry Ryan who wears a leather jacket makes shark moves. It just makes sense.
Now that you are 100% convinced, you can show your support for "The Eddie 400" in a number of ways:
- Get the logo tattooed on your forehead. If not your forehead, your stomach, but then you have to keep your stomach exposed at all times.
- Create leaflets and hand them out to friends, co-workers, and anyone who looks angry on the streets.
- Fly to Venezuela and inform his hometown; gather their support.
- Change your name to "Eduardo Escobar." Purchase business cards.
If those ideas don't suit you, perhaps you could just download the logo from above and make it your Twitter or Facebook or whatever avatar? Tell your friends about Eddie. Post on the Twins' Facebook wall. Tweet at Dave St. Peter. Do everything humanly possible to create awareness of this important campaign.
Together, we can ensure that Eduardo Escobar gets 400 plate appearances in 2014. I can't do this alone. I need you. Not in a weird way.
Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!