The Milwaukee Brewers will hope for more consistency from shortstop Orlando Arcia in 2019, but should they consider bringing back free agent Alcides Escobar to share playing time as a precaution?
Alcides Escobar has been the shortstop for the Kansas City Royals since 2011, but has now entered the free agent market. Many of us will recall that Escobar started his career with the Milwaukee Brewers but was a part of a trade that sent him to Kansas City, with a few others. This allowed Milwaukee to acquire Zack Greinke and playoff hero Yuniesky Betancourt.
For much of 2018, the middle infield, specifically shortstop, was a weak part of this Brewers team. Orlando Arcia finished the year strong but overall was inconsistent.
Bringing back Alcides Escobar could help provide stability and another shortstop option in 2019.
Why does Escobar make sense?
Alcides Escobar could add another veteran presence in the Milwaukee Brewers locker room, as well as bringing a great amount of postseason experience. Escobar played on two Royals’ World Series teams with current Brewer Lorenzo Cain, that included winning one of them.
There is no such thing as too much experience.
Escobar was a consistent starter for Kansas City in 2018, appearing in 140 games but overall it would be considered a down year.
Over his 140 games, Escobar put together a slash line of .231/.279/.313 and an OPS of .593. He was only able to record 34 RBIs but much of that can be attributed to a lack of opportunities due to playing with the poor Kansas City Royals.
Although 2018 was a down year, the Milwaukee Brewers could expect Escobar to bounce back in 2019 as his career averages in each of those statistical categories is above his 2018 performance.
During his career, Escobar has recorded a slash line of .258/.293/.343, with an OPS of .636. As they say “water always finds its level”.
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An important factor for the Brewers in considering Escobar is that he won’t break the bank. He made $6.5 million in 2017 but played 2018 with a base salary of just $2.5 million. After a down season we can expect a similar price tag for Escobar, with potentially some incentive based bonuses.
Additionally, Orlando Arcia was paid just $559,600 last season, so the Brewers won’t be over spending at the position.
Can the Brewers trust Arcia?
This will be a big question heading into 2019. Even though Arcia played better in the second half and was tremendous in the playoffs, it remains to be seen if he can be a consistent player for an entire season.
Arcia was able to salvage his season with how he played down the stretch but his first half was awful. He was went to Triple-A Colorado Springs twice and at the All-Star break had a slash line of .197/.231/.251.
The Milwaukee Brewers tried other options at shortstop but no one would take command of the job, leaving Arcia to work through his struggles in live action.
Milwaukee is a much better team when Arcia is getting on base at the bottom of the order but, up to this point, he’s been unreliable.
In addition to Arcia, the Brewers do have Mauricio Dubon in Triple-A, but he’s coming off of an ACL injury and at this point, we don’t know how productive he will be when he returns.
Escobar could provide another veteran bat in the lineup that could take over for a struggling Arcia, or the two of them could work as a platoon, allowing manager Craig Counsell to go with the hot hand each game. Over a longer career, Escobar has shown to be a consistent option.
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With limited solutions at shortstop outside of Arcia and Dubon, it may not be a bad idea for GM David Stearns to try adding more depth and experience to the position.