D-backs acquire doubles machine Escobar

Twins receive three Minor Leaguers in exchange

July 27th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- The D-backs added another piece for the stretch run by acquiring versatile infielder from the Twins, addressing Arizona's immediate need for an impact bat in the infield. In return, Minnesota will receive outfielder Gabriel Maciel, who was Arizona's No. 11 prospect, right-handed pitcher Jhoan Duran (No. 19) and outfielder Ernie De La Trinidad.
The move is timely, as the D-backs placed infielder on the disabled list Friday with a left shoulder contusion sustained in Thursday's game against the Cubs. They recalled infielder from Triple-A Reno and designated for assignment.
Escobar, a fan favorite in Minnesota, has given the Twins a solid glove at second, third and short this season while slashing .274/.338/.514 with an MLB-best 37 doubles. The switch-hitting 29-year-old wasn't known for his bat for most of his career, but he has broken out at the plate in his walk year, posting career-bests in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS+ (129). He has slugged 15 homers this season, and his 63 RBIs led the Twins.
Needless to say, his bat should be an immediate boost to the D-backs' lineup. Arizona's team OPS+ of 82 is second-worst in the National League, and much of that has to do with lack of production from the infield. Lamb has sharply regressed from an All-Star campaign in 2017 and is slashing .222/.307/.348. and Nick Ahmed are rebounding from slow starts, but have had disappointing campaigns as a whole.
In fact, Escobar's OPS+ is third among current D-backs, behind only and A.J. Pollock.
"We feel like he complements what we're trying to do pretty well," vice president and general manager Mike Hazen said. "He plays a good defensive infield, versatility. Experience at multiple positions, being a switch-hitter, dominant from the left side. We felt like, given our right-handed lineup, that he added a lot to that for us."
With no timetable for Lamb's return, manager Torey Lovullo noted that Escobar will spend the majority of the time at third base and will likely bat fifth or sixth.
"I've reached out to people in Minnesota and they've told me he was hitting anywhere from the third spot to the sixth spot," Lovullo said. "I know we have a couple of really good hitters in those couple of spots, so I'll probably hit him down toward the bottom, fifth or sixth.
"I want him playing third base. I think that's where the need is for us. I just want to make things as easy for him to transition over and be as comfortable as possible."
Escobar is owed roughly $1.7 million for the remainder of the season before becoming a free agent. He and should provide Lovullo with plenty of versatility in the field and off the bench, and Escobar's veteran presence and leadership in the clubhouse have long been valued by the Twins.
The D-backs sat at second in the NL West, 1 1/2 games behind the division-leading Dodgers, going into Friday. This move comes a day after Arizona fortified one of the best bullpens in the NL by acquiring from Tampa Bay.