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Article: Diving Into The Offseason: An Eduardo Escobar Extension?

eduardo escobar brian dozier byron buxton miguel sano jose berrios
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 08:48 PM

Earlier this offseason, I wrote about what potential long-term contract extensions might mean for Brian Dozier and several of the young core players. If you read my 2018 Twins Offseason Blueprint, you saw that I wanted to work out extensions with a couple more players. Today, I wanted to further dive into my reasons for thinking the Twins should approach Eduardo Escobar about a contract extension.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.
Fewer doubles, but more home runs. He drove in 73 runs. When Miguel Sano got hurt in August, Escobar stepped up and played his best baseball. In fact, right or wrong, Escobar hit in the middle of the lineup against left-handed pitching late in the season.

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)
While the $4.5 million is a little less than his 2018 projection, it comes with the guarantee of $5.0 million more.

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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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:07 PM

No.I like him, but we have a roster full of possible extensions and still a lot of holes to plug.Somewhere we need to maintain some flexibility.Keep signing him, but don't make a long term commitment.

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#3 Twinfan & Dad

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:27 PM

Pay the man! He was a major reason on why we reached the wild card game. Sano went down and he filled in beyond expectations and unfortunately Im sorry to say this but "he will have to do it again". Sano will be DH more this year so unless they move Dozier to 3rd we need Escobar.
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#4 Dman

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:30 PM

If you can get him to sign a two year deal I would do that.If we decide to go with young guys he will still have trade value.Otherwise you let him go for nothing.He is a valuable player especially in a utility role.

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#5 Brandon

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:47 PM

I think a 5 million first season and 7 million second with a third year option at 8 is closer to what he could get. You can add incentives for plate appearances if you want.
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#6 Brandon

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:48 PM

But i think your right about the extention as Sano insurance. And good article by the way.
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#7 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 09:50 PM

EE was twice named the White Sox 'Defensive Player of the Year' for their minor league system while he was with them. He has been excellent for us. I think securing him for 2 years is a really good idea. The third option year gives us flexibility to trade Gordon, should Gordon that become part of a trade that helps the Twins.

I like the idea of locking him up for 2 years. Safe play.

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#8 DocBauer

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 11:06 PM

Yes please! 100% everything written. He is versatile, productive, valuable, relatively young, and may have begun hitting his prime in 2017. The guy has flat out produced when called on and given opportunity.
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#9 nytwinsfan

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 05:54 AM

I'd extend Escobar for a year or two at around $4-5 a year, especially if we get an option. The dude is a versatile utility man who can actually hit, and is by all accounts a great clubhouse presence. I love how even when he strikes out, he often works counts 8-9-10 pitches fouling off 5 or 6 pitches.He really builds that pitch count up for opposing pitchers.

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#10 bighat

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 05:57 AM

 

Yes please! 100% everything written. He is versatile, productive, valuable, relatively young, and may have begun hitting his prime in 2017. The guy has flat out produced when called on and given opportunity.

 

Couldn't agree more!Escobar is very solid when starting, and an absolute luxury to have when he's on the bench. The numbers speak for themselves, and as others have said, Eddie was a huge part of last year's playoff push.Don't forget that he's a good "clubhouse guy" too, for whatever its worth.

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#11 Original Whizzinator

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 06:25 AM

One of the things I like about this team is they have fun. Eddie is a big part of that and he can play. Hang on to him losing him would be subtraction by subtraction (reverse sports cliche)
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#12 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 07:43 AM

I may be the only one, but being reminded this past season of how much a superior defense helps pitching and wins games, and looking at Escobar's hitting and his leadership, I would definitely propose signing Escobar to an extension and then (here is the controversial part)I would see which ACE starting pitchers plus flame throwing  relievers the Twins could get for Sano in a trade. Gordon can be the utility infielder.


#13 dbminn

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:03 AM

Sign him for 2-3 years, even though I think he'll cost a bit more than Seth's prediction. I like the Adrianza/Esco utility combo considering the limited space for position players on the bench. 

 

Low cost and little risk of getting stuck with a dead contract. If the Twins fade in 2018, he will be in demand at the deadline. He's the type of player needed on the bench of any successful team.

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#14 MN_ExPat

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:07 AM

 

I may be the only one, but being reminded this past season of how much a superior defense helps pitching and wins games, and looking at Escobar's hitting and his leadership, I would definitely propose signing Escobar to an extension and then (here is the controversial part)I would see which ACE starting pitchers plus flame throwing  relievers the Twins could get for Sano in a trade. Gordon can be the utility infielder.

That's a bold move Cotton, let's see if it pays off.   ;)

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#15 ashburyjohn

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:40 AM

He's come a long way since the Florimon/Escobar debates. Pay the man.

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#16 HitInAPinch

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:41 AM

Love Eduardo Escobar!Defensive specialists are a dime a dozen.Escobar provides offense and defense. 

 

My 2 cents:I fear that Sano will have more injury problems, just because he's a really big guy.This year, the focus should be on keeping him healthy and Escobar on 3rd more frequently. 

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It's not my fault !


#17 Doomtints

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 08:52 AM

Escobar stepped up ... up to average.

 

The Twins have him under contract for 3 more years. Let it roll.

Edited by Doomtints, 19 December 2017 - 08:54 AM.


#18 adorduan

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 10:42 AM

 

Escobar stepped up ... up to average.

 

The Twins have him under contract for 3 more years. Let it roll.

Huh??? They don't have him under contract for 3 more years,that's what this post is debating.

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#19 JLease

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 11:45 AM

2 years with an option for a 3rd with a reasonable buyout and some salary escalators tied to playing time would be fine in my book. I'd make the offer seth outlines. He's a nice, flexible bench piece that gives you good insurance against an INF injury. I'd rather not have him starting in one spot consistently, but as a super-utility guy he's a great fit and $4.5M is a price I'd pay.


#20 spanman2

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Posted 19 December 2017 - 11:55 AM

Given what he brings to the club from a talent standpoint and how he is able to help the younger Latin players in the clubhouse and on the field I would do Seth's suggested deal in a heart beat.That kind of $$$ is not out of line at all.

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