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What are the Blue Jays getting in infielder Eduardo Escobar, and where does he fit on the team’s roster?

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Photo credit:© Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Prasad
1 month ago
The Toronto Blue Jays added another infield piece to the organization earlier this week, signing utility infielder Eduardo Escobar to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. 
Escobar is a veteran in the game with 10 minor league seasons and 13 Major League seasons under his belt. His experience ranges from Venezuelan Winter League ball and the Caribbean series to affiliated and big-league Baseball. He broke through with the Chicago White Sox in 2011, established himself as an everyday utility player after being dealt to the Minnesota Twins, and then broke out as an All-Star hitter after joining the Arizona Diamondbacks. All told, Escobar has played 1,363 games in the Majors. 
In 2023, he divided his season between two teams: the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Angels. Between those two squads, Escobar batted .226 with a .269 on-base percentage and a .344 slugging percentage. He had 65 hits, six home runs, 31 RBIs, and scored 32 times. He struck out 78 times and only walked 18 times. He recorded a 25.2 strikeout percentage, a 5.8 walk percentage, and a 1.9 home run percentage. Needless to say, Escobar was not heavily relied on with regard to playing time and plate time. He only saw 288 at-bats in the 99 games he appeared in last year. 
The infielder split his time between the hot corner at third base, second base, and designated hitter. He had a total of 65 games at third base, with a .951 fielding percentage, and committed seven errors. He played 20 games at second base with a 1.000 fielding percentage and without any errors. Six games were in the designated hitter role. 
Although Escobar is not exactly a stellar offensive player, he does offer Toronto a decent option as a utility infielder if he can crack the 40-man roster. Escobar hits from both sides of the plate, showing fair contact-ability from both the left and the right side. From a day-to-day perspective, he can put the bat on the ball and get ducks across the pond and guys into scoring position. His downfall is his strikeout-to-walk ratio. What he needs to do to succeed is be active in counts early where the fastball will display more. His struggle to pick up good breaking pitches in vulnerable counts is where he usually fails, as Escobar can’t be relied on as a late-game pinch-hitting option.
Overall, Escobar’s experience will show throughout spring training and his tools can help him stand out amongst all the players who are competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Similar to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Cavan Biggio, Escobar is flexible across most of the infield and gives the Jays a dependable option off of the bench to execute fundamental plays. 
Whether he makes the team will come down to the numbers that he and other young players produce during Grapefruit League play. Escobar isn’t on the 40-man roster and would require making a transaction in order to break camp and travel north with the team at the end of March. If he doesn’t prove enough here, he’ll likely have to do so with Triple-A Buffalo. 

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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