It always seemed Alcides Escobar would be a perfect match for San Diego. Now, there are finally reports the Kansas City Royals shortstop could sign there.
Until Alcides Escobar officially signs elsewhere, there will always be a large portion of Kansas City Royals fans convinced he will re-sign. Most of those fans will probably shudder at the idea but assume its inevitability; the others could be the fans hoping all the free agents miraculously re-sign and nobody has to leave.
While that could still happen, there’s also a possibility Escobar could sign with San Diego this offseason. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Padres are interested in Escobar, along with some other cheap free agent shortstops.
Now, this isn’t the first time Escobar and the Padres have been mentioned together on this site. They were paired together when offseason landing spots were predicted with and without the Kansas City Royals in the picture. But this is the first time the two have been named together with a credible source verifying the interest.
Why would San Diego want Escobar?
Whether the Padres sign Escobar or one of the other bargain-bin shortstops, the role is strictly a placeholder until prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. is ready. Tatis will turn 19 in January, but he has impressed every step of the way in the minors. Heyman said it’s likely Tatis will get called up at some point in 2018, making this winter’s signing a stopgap in every sense of the word.
Escobar still plays solid defense despite turning 31 in almost a month. However, his speed dropped off considerably in 2017. He went from 17 stolen bases in 2016 down to just four this past season. His batting average and on-base percentage plummeted. But Escobar’s slugging percentage increased on the back of a career-high 36 doubles.
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His September/October showed Escobar still has something left in the tank. Over that span, he hit .330/.340/.570. Never one for walks, Escobar had 11 doubles, two triples and three home runs to go with 11 runs scored and 13 RBI in 100 at-bats. The month clearly represents an anomaly.
The biggest leg up Escobar would have over fellow shortstop options is his durability. He has played all 162 games in three of the past four years. It makes Escobar a perfect fit for a San Diego team not looking to compete in 2018, as his health allows the Padres to take their time with Tatis. Escobar will be there to play until they drag him off the field.
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What do you think? Would Escobar fit well with the Padres? Should the Royals attempt to keep him? Let us know your thoughts.