As of Thursday morning, we’re still waiting on a resolution between the Mets and Carlos Correa. Once we do — and if things end in a finalized agreement — he’ll be playing third base next to his buddy and fellow countryman, Francisco Lindor. That also means Eduardo Escobar could be on the outside looking in.
In a recent report from The Athletic‘s Ken Rosenthal, he mentioned Escobar’s name as a trade candidate should things get across the finish line with Correa. It’s not hard to see why. After all, Escobar is a veteran with a proven track record. He also finished 2022 strong after some struggles. The infielder’s contract is one many clubs would like, too — he’s due to earn $9.5 million in 2023 and has a 2024 club option for $9 million.
Despite spending nearly $1 billion on talent this winter, we’ve heard that the Mets are not done. According to Metsmerized’s Mike Mayer at the time of the initial Correa agreement, New York still wants another bat and reliever. Instead of continuing to supplement via free agency, the Mets now have an opportunity to explore the trade market.
I understand that in order to get something, a team also has to give something up. While Escobar doesn’t naturally fit on the Mets’ roster as much as he did a few months ago, he’d still be a valuable player for manager Buck Showalter.
Escobar can be part of DH solution
As the roster is currently constructed, Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf would keep platooning at designated hitter. Ruf is also the only other current bench player who can play the outfield.
However, there are still options on the free-agent market to find another outfielder. And while he came with a proven track record of hitting lefties, just about every Mets fan can agree Ruf is a DFA candidate. He posted just a 24 wRC+ and -0.9 fWAR in 74 plate appearances after getting acquired at the trade deadline. Ruf is scheduled to earn $3 million in 2023, so it’s a cost the Mets can easily cover if they can’t find a trade partner.
Escobar is a proven everyday player in the big leagues. He’s also hit left-handed pitching quite well during his career. He owns a career 108 wRC+ and .783 OPS when facing southpaws. Those numbers were at 130 and .817, respectively, in 2022.
At the very least, he can form a more effective DH platoon with Vogelbach. And in a best-case scenario, he can take over DH duties on a more full-time basis. That’d keep Vogelbach available for late-game pinch-hitting situations.
His versatility would be an asset for Mets
When New York went on its Black Friday spending spree in November 2021, there was one common characteristic between Escobar, Starling Marte, and Mark Canha. They were versatile players who could handle different positions on the diamond.
It’s something the Mets have valued greatly over the past couple of years, and Escobar is especially versatile. He’s played every infield position throughout his big-league career. The veteran has also dabbled in the outfield, but not nearly as much or as recently.
I mentioned his solid numbers against left-handed pitching above, but let’s forget he’s also a switch hitter. While the Mets do have an infield swiss-army knife in Luis Guillorme, every team could use a player like Escobar. And if there’s any manager who can get the most out of this situation, it’s Showalter.
Escobar will obviously be an intriguing trade candidate for interested teams. And, as I said before, the Mets have to give up something good to get what they think the roster needs. It wouldn’t at all be shocking to see Escobar dealt in the coming weeks. But if not, he could be an asset for the Mets in 2023 while still getting significant playing time.