Last Updated on January 8, 2022 by Lil Ginge
This offseason the New York Mets signed All-Star third baseman Eduardo Escobar to a two-year, $20 million deal. But who is Eduardo Escobar and what can we expect him to contribute as a New York Met over the next two years?
Escobar, 32, is coming off an All-Star season in which he hit .253 / .314 / .472 with 28 home runs and 90 RBIs for a wRC+ of 107. Combined with great infield defense, Escobar put up a solid 3 WAR for the season in 2021.
Can we expect Escobar to put up similar numbers over the next two seasons? And what else can we expect from the Mets’ new infielder on and off the field? In this article, we’ll take a look at the newest Met third baseman and what he brings to the table.
Early Biography of Eduardo Escobar
Eduardo José Escobar was born on January 5, 1989 in La Pica, Maracay, Venezuela, giving him his nickname “El De La Pica”. Escobar was raised by a single mother and grew up with four siblings.
Due to the conditions where he grew up and in his own family, Escobar had to begin working when he was only seven years old. While his mother worked as a housekeeper, Escobar himself worked a number of different jobs including grocery bagging and cleaning houses.
However, Escobar discovered something else when he was only seven years old: his passion and love of baseball. And while he was only able to acquire an 8th grade education growing up, he taught himself the baseball skills he would need to go on to have an all-star calibre career in Major League Baseball.
A childhood friend of Miguel Cabrera’s, as a teenager Eduardo Escobar fancied himself a pitcher. However, when he tried out for the Chicago White Sox in Caracas in December, 2006, he did so as a shortstop. Though his mom wanted him to stay in school – going so far as to hide his baseball equipment from him – he would sneak out and play anyway, dedicated to pursuing a professional career as a baseball player.
In 2006, Escobar did make his professional debut with the Venezuelan Summer League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. And by 2008, he was making his professional debut in the United States with the Great Falls and Kannapolis minor league affiliates of those same White Sox.
Eduardo Escobar Joins the Big Leagues
In 2008, Escobar hit .281 in 66 combined games and by 2010 he found himself promoted to AA Birmingham. But it was 2011 when he would finally break through to Major League Baseball, appearing with the White Sox in 9 games.
The utility infielder, debuting on September 3rd as a September callup, appeared at shortstop in three games, as well as two at second base. In his first game, he entered as a late-inning defensive replacement at short and collected his first Major League hit, a single off of future Hall of Fame pitcher Justin Verlander.
The following season, Escobar made the White Sox opening day roster as a utility infielder. But on July 28th, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins along with Pedro Hernández for Francisco Liriano. Escobar made his Twins debut on September 4th, going 2 – 4 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored against his former team, the White Sox.
By early May 2014, Escobar became the Twins’ primary shortstop when they optioned Pedro Florimon to the minors. That season, Escobar played 98 games at short along with 25 games at third base and nine at second base. He hit 35 doubles that season, 2nd best on the Twins and 10th best overall in the American League.
In 2017, Escobar made his MLB postseason debut in the American League Wild Card game against the New York Yankees on October 3rd. In that game, he went 2 – 4. And in 2018, Escobar was second-best in the major leagues with 48 doubles behind Alex Bregman’s 51 doubles.
Arizona, Milwaukee, and Queens, NY
On July 27, 2018, Escobar found himself traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for a few minor leaguers. And on October 22nd, he decided to stay with his newfound team when he signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Diamondbacks that would take him through the 2021 season. In Arizona, he switched from shortstop to become a full-time third baseman.
After a terrible but shortened 2020 Covid-leveled campaign, Escobar bounced back to have his first all-star season in 2021. With free agency pending, the absolutely terrible Diamondbacks decided to trade Escobar to the contending Milwaukee Brewers on July 28th in exchange for catcher Cooper Hummel and second baseman Alberto Ciprian.
During his 2021 all-star campaign, Eduardo appeared in 146 total games between Arizona and Milwaukee. He hit .253 / .314 / .472 with 77 runs, 26 doubles, 5 triples, 28 home runs and 90 RBIs for a 109 OPS+. But as an impending free agent, the 2021 postseason would be the end of Escobar’s time with the Brewers.
The Mets knew they needed to strike hard during the offseason after a hugely disappointing 2021 season. And new Mets GM Billy Eppler wasted little time in making a trio of terrific signings: outfielder Mark Canha, centerfielder Starling Marte, and third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
The Eduardo signing is a two-year, $20 million dollar deal with a third-year team option for 2024. If this deal works out, it could be an absolute steal for the New York Mets and helps the team shore up a shaky third base situation.
Eduardo Escobar On and Off the Field
After the Escobar signing, Mets GM Billy Eppler stated, “Eduardo will be a welcomed addition not only to our lineup, but to our clubhouse culture. Eduardo’s versatility on the infield and his ability to hit from both sides of the plate will give our team additional depth.”
Eppler makes several great points here. Though Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and potentially Robinson Cano will patrol the right three positions of the Mets’ infield, third base was less certain. But with switch-hitting Eduardo Escobar now firmly planted at third base, it shores up the Mets’ left side while allowing him to spell the other infielders at their positions when necessary. Last season, the Mets saw Jonathan Villar (97 games), JD Davis (50), and Luis Guillorme (27) most at the hot corner. It will be nice for Escobar to shore them up with some more stability.
But in some ways, Escobar’s most important contribution to the New York City community may come off the field. “Everybody knows that Eduardo Escobar was an unbelievable addition to the Diamondbacks,” said Debbie Castaldo, the Diamondbacks’ Vice President of Corporate and Community Impact. “What you may not realize is how special he is off the field.”
Indeed, Eduardo Escobar, a father himself, loves children and works hard to serve children in need in the communities he calls home. Growing up in a poor community in Venezuelan has made him grateful for the opportunities he’s gotten, and he wants to ensure a better life not only for his own children but for children in his home community.
From the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix, Escobar said, “I see these kids and smile and play around, for me it’s the most important part of my life. Especially coming from nothing, having a poor family, now is why I like helping people, why I like (to) play with kids. The Arizona community, I like it, I’m feeling so blessed here, taking time, coming to play with kids to support me. Every time I see one kid smile is a blessed day for me.”
Eduardo Escobar with the New York Mets
It seems clear that Eduardo Escobar will be a terrific addition to the New York Mets. He will shore up the hot corner defensively while contributing above-average, switch-hitting power at the plate.
With his offseason contributions to the community at large, I foresee Escobar being a major addition to the Mets and New York City both on and off the field. This move has the potential to be one of the most consequential moves Eppler made during the offseason.
It’s hard to say how the Mets will fare in 2022, but considering moves Eppler has made this offseason, I expect the Mets to potentially contend in the National League East all season long. And I expect Eduardo Escobar to play a major part in that as well.