Once the New York Mets have Carlos Correa sign on the dotted line they are going to be absolutely loaded with infield talent. Many have speculated that current third baseman Eduardo Escobar may be a roster casualty to make room for Correa next season who would slide into his third base role. I believe trading Escobar would be a huge mistake as he can still be a valuable asset to the Mets in 2023.
While the 2022 season didn't start off in the most ideal way for the 33-year-old, he played a key part for the Mets both defensively and offensively down the stretch as he hit .321/.385/.596 with a .982 OPS over his last 30 games. Over 30 of those games, he also had 8 home runs and 25 RBIs and he seemed to be more patient at the plate drawing 12 walks. For reference of the importance of that number, he had 13 walks between the months of May and August.
The Mets would have a better overall roster with Eduardo Escobar on it rather than trading him this offseason
With all of that being said, as we've learned in the past, you can never have too much depth. For a team whose designated hitter position is a bit unsettled currently, Eduardo Escobar would be a perfect candidate to take some at-bats out of that position next season. Interestingly enough he'd be an ideal candidate to hit at the bottom of the lineup with a Correa addition as out of the 8-hole last season he hit .365/.410/.676 over 83 plate appearances.
The switch-hitting Escobar also had hit lefties better than he had hit right-handed pitching last season (.259 avg vs. .231 avg) which can give the Mets an extra-right-handed bat in their lineup on any given night. From an offensive perspective, it makes sense to hold on to Escobar next season.
Defensively, Correa will be getting the majority of the reps at third base, however, Escobar could easily spell Correa on any given night that Buck Showalter wants to give Correa a breather in the designated hitter position. Escobar also has the capabilities of playing second base and shortstop, which gives the Mets some defensive flexibility.
The Mets felt the loss of Luis Guillorme last season when he injured his groin and keeping Escobar on the roster prevents the Mets from being in that predicament again next season. It's important not to forget that Escobar is known as one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball, which was a huge reason why the Mets signed him last offseason, and you could see how well the clubhouse responded to him even during his prolonged slump.
Escobar is under contract for $9.5 million this upcoming season, and the club holds a $9 million club option on him for the 2024 season if they wish to retain him. For a player who is capable of hitting 30-home runs, with defensive versatility, and a strong clubhouse presence it should be a no-brainer to retain him next season once Correa comes on board.