The Diamondbacks cannot be saved. Currently, they’re on pace for a 43-win season, and they’re about to get a whole lot worse. With the trade deadline coming up, anyone having a decent year and/or an expiring contract will be on the move. Tim Locastro was the first to be sold, but the next could very well be Arizona’s sole All-Star: Eduardo Escobar.
Escobar is a switch-hitter who has cracked 18 home runs this year. He can play third and second well, and he can fill in at short. His contract’s up at the end of the year, so he would be a rental, and he’s owed a little less than $4 million for the remainder of 2021. Assuming his ailing quad is healthy, he should be an attractive target this trade deadline. Few contenders can’t make use of him or can’t afford him, but some need him more than others. For the Dodgers or Padres, he’d be a luxury. For these teams, he could save their season.
The White Sox are the team most closely linked to Escobar. Reportedly, they’ve had discussions with the Dbacks about acquiring him. Bob Nightengale was adamant that Escobar was headed to the South Side a few weeks ago.
Eduardo Escobar, 4-for-5 with a double and homer, and 5 RBI, and soon on his way from the #Dbacks to the #WhiteSox, is about to end the #Dbacks’ 24-game road losing streak before he departs. They are up 10-0 in the 8th over the #Padres.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 27, 2021
I could make an easy joke about Bob being wrong about something, but with this, it’s honestly a bit weird that it hasn’t happened yet. Even if it means Escobar would primarily be a second baseman, the fit is obvious with the injury to Nick Madrigal. Since Madrigal went down, Danny Mendick and Leury García have gotten most of the innings at second, and neither has a wRC+ above 85. With solid defense, the two are fine for a bench role, but Chicago’s bench is wearing thin with injuries not only to Madrigal but to Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez as well. Not to mention Adam Eaton, Adam Engel, and Billy Hamilton have all landed on the IL, too.
Even with myriad injuries, the White Sox shouldn’t have much trouble winning the AL Central. The Tiger and Royals are the Tigers and Royals. The Minnesota Twins got stuck in the cube from the movie Cube. The Cleveland Water Fowl are within striking distance, but their offense is only allotted eight more runs for the rest of the season.
Wait, this says I changed it to the Yankees. What is wrong with me?
Since no-hitting the Dodgers, the Cubs have gone into a tailspin. Entering Monday, they were 42-42, third in the NL Central, and seven games back of the first-place Brewers.
Like the Sox, the Cubs would need Escobar to play second full time. Patrick Wisdom and Kris Bryant have the hot corner nailed down, but second base is a pain point for the North Side. Though Nico Hoerner has been solid between two separate IL stints, the Cubs are still giving at-bats to Eric Sogard, who is hitting a cool .253/.290./.265 for a 67 wRC+. Even if Escobar didn’t represent an offensive upgrade, replacing Sogard with him would help the Cubs up their vaccination rate.
Our journey north continues to beautiful Milwaukee. The Brewers sit atop the NL Central for now, but the offense has plenty of holes. Though they’re buoyed by perennial MVP candidate
Christian Yelich Willy Adames, Milwaukee’s offense ranks 19th by non-pitcher wRC+ at 97.
The Brewers have struggled to get much production out of third base. Luis Urias has gotten the glut of innings since Travis Shaw landed on the IL, and he’s managed a career-high .317 wOBA. No one behind him has hit at all, though. Daniel Robertson and Pablo Reyes have been about 50 percent worse than league average. Even if Shaw returns this year, he was only slashing .191/.279/.337.
Escobar could provide a jolt of offense at third while spelling Kolten Wong against tough lefties. Maybe he could even get some innings at first if Keston Hiura doesn’t put things together.
Kenny Kelly is the managing editor of Beyond the Box Score.