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Arizona Diamondbacks acquire 3B Eduardo Escobar from Twins

He’ll presumably stand in for and/or platoon with Jake Lamb

Boston Red Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired INF Eduardo Escobar from the Minnesota Twins for RHP Jhoan Durán, OF Ernie De La Trinidad and OF Gabriel Maciel. The D-backs also recalled INF Ildemaro Vargas from Triple-A Reno and placed INF Jake Lamb on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder contusion. To make room on the 40-man roster, Arizona designated INF Jack Reinheimer for assignment.

The 29-year-old Escobar is in the final year of his contract, so this appears to be a rental. He is a switch hitter, so this move does not necessarily indicate that Jake Lamb will be out of action for a lengthy period. Escobar certainly represents a better option against left-handed pitching, though his splits are relatively small there (+24 points of OPS over his career, compared to Lamb’s chasm of -281 points). He has been having a very nice season in his walk year, batting .274 with 15 home-runs, and an OPS+ of a career-high 129. While he has started mostly at third in Minnesota (73 games) he has also played at shortstop (20 games) and second (once).

In some ways, Eduardo can be seen as a poor man’s version of Manny Machado. By bWAR, he has been worth only about half a win less (2.6 bWAR vs. 3.2) this season, but is earning only about 30% of Machado’s salary ($4.85m vs. $16m) - the D-backs will be responsible for about $1.5 million at this point in the year. He does have one thing Manny doesn’t: a career zero ERA. For Escobar tossed a scoreless inning for the Twins in 2016, allowing a hit. So he joins Daniel Descalso, Alex Avila and Jeff Mathis as potential emergency bullpen options for Torey Lovullo!

As with the Matt Andriese trade, I defer to Michael over the cost. What Arizona is giving up appears to be volume rather than any particularly outstanding prospects though, with Maciel #11, Duran #19, and De La Trinidad not ranked in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 Arizona prospects. This is what you’d expect, given we’ll only have Escobar for 58 games, plus any playoff contests. But there’s no denying that, since the beginning of the off-season, we have dealt away a number of such players. At a certain point, it becomes a numbers game: eventually, one will become Paul Goldschmidt or Brandon Webb, a player drafted outside the early rounds who blossoms into a star. They won’t be doing it for the D-backs.

But this move also indicate Mike Hazen is seeing now as the window of opportunity for the D-backs. It’s very much trading future potential for the next couple of months, unless there are plans to try and re-sign Escobar, which seems unlikely. It’s not “all in,” of course. That would involve bigger deals, probably involving our top prospects, and we haven’t seen those. At least, not yet. For I suspect the team has probably not finished dealing: I suspect another bullpen arm still remains the most likely area of improvement (and no, it won’t be an established closer).


The trade for Escobar is...

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