Billy Eppler’s first major move as New York Mets general manager was the two-year deal he struck with Eduardo Escobar on Black Friday. A contract worth $20 million, it was a lower-cost move with some immediate benefits.
The instant reaction to the signing was a mix of good and bad. Some Mets fans rejoiced at the team taking action to improve their third base situation. Others were hoping for much more. Meanwhile, many outside of the Metsphere of life ridiculed the transaction because that’s just how people operate.
Often, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. And that’s exactly what we can expect from Escobar in 2022.
For better or worse, Eduardo Escobar is probably going to be a Todd Frazier for the Mets
Todd Frazier’s tenure with the Mets was an interesting one. Including his return in late 2020, he hit .232/.313/.416 with 41 home runs in 262 games. It was underwhelming, particularly in 2018 when he hit only .213/.303/.390.
Frazier did perform closer to the higher of expectations in 2019. Raising his slash line to .251/.329/.443 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI, he was a faulty yet occasionally productive member of the Mets starting lineup.
Escobar has a few things in common with Frazier. Neither are/were good OBP guys. Each had decent pop with an outlier season. In Frazier’s case, it was the 2016 season when he rocketed 40 home runs and drove in 98 for the Chicago White Sox all while hitting a rather weak .225.
The year where Escobar raised his profile was far better. In the 2019 season when everyone was hitting home runs, he raised his career high from 23 the season prior up to 35. He added in 118 RBI while batting .269/.320/.511.
This isn’t the kind of production Mets fans should expect from Escobar in his two years with the club. However, rebounding with a 28 home run, 90 RBI, .253/.314/.472 performance in 2021 after a down season in 2020, there is enough cause for some excitement.
Pinpointing exactly what Escobar can give the Mets is a fool’s errand. A late bloomer who didn’t become a recognized middle-of-the-order option until 2017 after parts of six big league seasons, it’s possible his career is over just as quickly as it began.
Remember how much of a star Carlos Gomez was for a short period of time? Careers can fade fast.
Fortunately, Escobar isn’t a guy built on speed or any of those other talents that burn out fast. During his last two full seasons, he has hit 63 home runs and driven in 208. Even a lesser version of him is something the Mets can benefit from.
Escobar could very well crash and burn and be nothing more than a burden on the roster. Or, if we’re lucky, he puts together another 25+ home run season and gives the Mets some ease on the defensive side of things.