Brewers 2021 Trade Deadline Target: 3B Eduardo Escobar
By John Egan
With the trade and emergence of Willy Adames over at shortstop, will third base be the next position the Milwaukee Brewers are looking to upgrade?
After an explosive April, Travis Shaw has cooled down. Daniel Robertson platooned a bit at third before his injury and Pablo Reyes was also up for a bit. With now Adames the primary shortstop for Milwaukee, Luis Urias’s role is now more of a utility infielder at shortstop and third.
The Brewers also have Zach Green ready to go in the minors and will get a chance at the hot corner at some point this season. But if Green gets his shot and Shaw continues to stay cool, the team might look for another option at third base. A former Minnesota Twin that is now in the desert might be their best option.
Arizona Diamondbacks veteran third baseman Eduardo Escobar would be a solid trade deadline target for the Brewers to help improve the infield offense.
Right now, the Diamondbacks are dead last in the NL West, and will probably be sellers at the deadline. The Brewers are only a few games back, and are in the hunt for the NL Central.
The 32 year old Escobar is a career .250 hitter, but his RBI and home run production has always been there. His 2020 was a down year, but he had a career season in 2019. He ended with a .269 average, 35 home runs and 118 RBIs. His season OPS was also a career-high .832.
Eduardo has continued that trend in 2021. His current slash line is .235/.281/.465 and his OPS is .746. His average isn’t breathtaking, but his other stats would help the Brewers. Through 54 games, he already has 13 home runs and 39 RBIs. It would be a definite upgrade at the position.
Trading for Escobar would be a true rental. He is on the final year of this three year contract with the Diamondbacks, and earning a $7.6MM salary this year. Arizona might be willing to pay some of his remaining salary in a trade as well.
Escobar made some sense as a trade target last offseason, too. But Arizona held on to him to start the season.
Acquiring Eduardo should be an offensive upgrade on offense. How do the current Brewers third basemen compare to his 2021 numbers.
Through the first two weeks of the season, Shaw was batting around .300. He had three home runs and almost 15 RBIs the first few weeks. Since then, the numbers have decreased. Shaw hovered around the mid-200s for batting average in May, but right now his average is down to just .199.
After four home runs in April, he only had two long balls in May. Shaw can still platoon and has provided solid defense for the Crew this year, but they need a more consistent offensive producer over at third.
Daniel Robertson is hard to compare because of his injury, but he has played in 25 games already this year. He is hitting .133 with only one home run and RBI so far this year. He is a solid utility player, but Escobar would be a significant improvement.
Pablo Reyes played 18 games before being sent back down the minors. He was fascinating to watch defensively, and actually didn’t do terrible at the plate. He did bat .270, but just didn’t produce many runs. He only had one RBI and had a goose egg for home runs. Two of his ten hits were for doubles, too. Again, Escobar would a step up for production.
After not playing in 2020, Zach Green signed with the Brewers last December and been with Nashville Sounds so far this season. You can never compare minor stats and how they will do when being called up to the majors, but Green is having a heck of a season.
Green has a .278 batting average, nine home runs, 25 RBIs and a 1.037 OPS. His 2019 season in the minors started out the same way, but didn’t translate to the majors when he was called up by the San Francisco Giants. A new team and situation could definitely change things, but it’s tough to depend on Green over a guy like Escobar.
Depending on who the Brewers would have to give up, Escobar would be a great addition to the team.
Shaw and Urias will be the platoon for the time being. Both are great defensively, but are not completely making fireworks on the offensive side. Urias has had some recent moments, including the walk-off in extra innings against the Detroit Tigers. Though if his defensive mental errors continue and his numbers don’t improve, he will be stuck in a utility role.
Right now the Venezuela native has a better average, higher OPS, more RBIs and more home runs than Shaw and Urias combined. He would be a big upswing on the offensive end and a better utility option over Robertson, Reyes and Green.
Depending on the price, the Brewers could grab one of the best trade deadline players to compete for the NL Central. Third base looks like it’ll be one of their biggest needs.