DENVER — Looking to replenish their injury-depleted infield, the Los Angeles Angels acquired switch-hitter Eduardo Escobar from the New York Mets for two minor league pitchers Friday night.
New York received right-handers Landon Marceaux and Coleman Crow. Both were starters at Double-A Rocket City.
The 34-year-old Escobar got off to a slow start this season and lost his starting job at third base in April when the Mets called up touted prospect Brett Baty from the minors.
But the popular Escobar has flourished in a part-time role at third and second, batting .333 (20 for 60) with three home runs, two triples, 10 RBIs and a .951 OPS in his last 25 games. He is hitting .236 with four homers, 16 RBIs and a .695 OPS overall in his 13th major league season.
“He’s a professional,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said after his team’s 7-4 loss at Colorado. “He’s been around a long time, been through a lot in this game. I’m getting some text messages right now, nothing but praise for him and what a great guy he is. He wants to win. He’s a competitor, so I’m looking forward to having him here.”
Escobar figures to get playing time and provide needed depth for the Angels, who are minus third baseman Anthony Rendon and corner infielder Gio Urshela because of injuries. Rookie shortstop Zach Neto is on the injured list as well.
“It’s a good place for him to re-establish himself,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said after Friday night’s 5-1 loss in Philadelphia. “I’m happy for him and the opportunity he’s going to get. Wish Eduardo well.”
Los Angeles began the day 41-35, a half-game out of playoff position in a crowded AL wild-card race. Led by superstars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels haven’t reached the postseason since 2015 – tied with Detroit for the longest drought in the majors. They are trying to end that streak in the final season before Ohtani becomes eligible for free agency.
Escobar, an NL All-Star in 2021 with Arizona, is in the second season of a $20 million, two-year contract he signed with the Mets in December 2021.
“It’s tough,” Showalter said. “Everybody has a lot of respect for him.”
New York will pay $4,720,430 to the Angels, who take on $387,097 of the remainder of Escobar’s $9.5 million salary – a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum for the season’s final 100 days. The Mets would pay the Angels an additional $500,000 to cover the buyout if Los Angeles declines Escobar’s $9 million team option for 2024.
Despite a record $355 million payroll, New York has been one of baseball’s biggest disappointments this year. The reeling Mets are fourth in the NL East and a season-worst seven games under .500 at 34-41.
Pitching has been a consistent problem, and the club is short on young arms in the upper levels of the minors who could potentially help an underperforming staff.
The 23-year-old Marceaux was 3-6 with a 4.88 ERA in 12 starts. He had 45 strikeouts in 59 innings.
A third-round draft pick out of LSU in 2021, Marceaux is 7-13 with a 3.99 ERA in 32 starts over three minor league seasons. He has struck out 124 and walked 35 in 153 1/3 innings.
The 22-year-old Crow was 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA and 31 strikeouts against six walks in four starts covering 24 innings this season. He was selected by the Angels in the 28th round of the 2019 amateur draft out of high school in Georgia, but didn’t make his professional debut until 2021 because the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the coronavirus. He is 15-6 with a 4.33 ERA in three minor league seasons, striking out 221 batters in 214 1/3 innings.
Mets general manager Billy Eppler held the same role with the Angels from 2015-20.
Source: Yahoo Sports