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Arizona Diamondbacks claim Edwin Escobar, designate Matt Buschmann for assignment

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The Arizona Diamondbacks claimed LHP Edwin Escobar off waivers from the Boston Red Sox, optioned him to Triple-A Reno and designated RHP Matt Buschmann for assignment, as announced by D-backs Sr. Vice President & General Manager Dave Stewart.

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Escobar, 24, has appeared in 3 games (1 start) with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, and has not allowed an earned run (7.0 IP). In 2015, he went 3-3 with a 4.97 ERA (28 ER in 50.2 IP) in 20 games (7 starts) with Pawtucket and Single-A Greenville. In 2014, Escobar entered the season ranked by Baseball America as the San Francisco Giants' No. 2 prospect, and was selected to the World Team roster for the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Target Field.

He was traded to the Red Sox on July 26, 2014, along with RHP Heath Hembree, for RHP Jake Peavy and cash considerations, and later made 2 relief appearances with Boston (1 ER in 2.0 IP). In 8 Minor League seasons, the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder has gone 28-45 with a 4.15 ERA (284 ER in 615.1 IP) in 142 games (119 starts). He was originally signed by the Texas Rangers as a Minor League free agent on July 2, 2008, and traded to San Francisco on April 1, 2010 for LHP Ben Snyder.

Before the 2014 season, Escobar was a top 100 prospect on both the lists of Baseball America and MLB.com, being ranked as high as #56 by the former. However, he has struggled with the transition to the Triple-A level, and over parts of three seasons there, has posted a 4.80 ERA over 32 starts and 15 relief appearances. Of particular concern, his strikeout rate there has dipped to 6.6 per nine innings, compared to 8.5 at the lower levels. On the plus side, he's still relatively young, having only turned 24 last Friday, so shouldn't be written off yet. The fact he's a left-hander is certainly in his favor. Writing about him, SoxProspects.com said after the 2015 season

When healthy, the left-handed pitcher has shown the ability to throw three average-grade offerings with control of the fastball, curveball, and slider mix. The fastball sits in the range of 89-94 mph with sink when down, and Escobar has shown ability to command to both sides of the plate with it when healthy. The curveball is 75-78 mph with average-grade slurvy action. He's shown the confidence to throw it to both right-handed and left-handed hitters as well as double-up on the offering. The changeup is 82-85 mph thrown with solid arm speed, and he has also shown the ability and confidence to throw it in any count.

Escobar could profile best as a left-handed reliever if he can return to form and continue to demonstrate his three offerings with the average command and control that he's shown previously

Which certainly sounds intriguing. However, he did miss the first two months of last season with elbow inflammation - never a good sign. He didn't look impressive on his return: Baseball Prospectus wrote he "struggled with command of his fastball, and his secondary pitches still need work," and the question of whether his future will be as a starter or reliever remains to be decided.

I am kinda sad to see the loss of Matt Buschmann, whose spot on the 40-man roster was needed to make room for Escobar. Buschmann finally reaching the majors was a nice story, but there's no room for sentimentality, and using a roster spot on a warm, fuzzy feeling would be a mistake.

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