Sep 16, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar (5) hits an RBI double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Previously, here at FriarsOnBase, we posted an article about which free agent shortstops could be on the Padres shopping list and which worked best. General Manager A.J. Preller might very well seek to get a shortstop via trade. Before getting into whom he should target, let’s go through some players that have been talked about as options but should be avoided.
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Let’s just eliminate Jose Reyes. Perhaps, he’s a buy-low candidate. But with the domestic violence possibility, the Padres shouldn’t touch Reyes with a 400-foot pole.
The Nationals have made Escobar available:
In the Nation’s Capital, Escobar had one of his best seasons at the plate hitting .314/.375/.415/.790 (113 OPS+). After eight years in the bigs at shortstop, Escobar occupied third base for 134 games in 2015. The Cuban-native is a high-on-base player with slightly-below-average power. He consistently plays at least 130 games. His contract is worth only $7 million this year with the same amount due in 2017 if his club option gets picked up. So why is Escobar on this list?
Through 2012, Escobar was a slick fielder – one of the better in baseball. But then, he turned 30. In 2014, he played 136 games at short for the Rays. He cost Tampa Bay 24 runs by Baseball Info Solutions Measure and 17 runs by BaseballProjection.com. His range – something that once elevated him – slipped to dangerously below average. Even at third base last season, Escobar showed range worse than that of Yangervis Solarte. It was outright terrible. The Padres can’t afford a bad defender at such a key defensive position.
At 26, Andrus’s value continues to diminish. His contract is set to give him another $103 million over the next seven years with a vesting option for an eighth. Preller has reportedly checked in with the Rangers on Andrus. The Texas shortstop has played a minimum of 145 games every year of his career and at least 156 for the past four seasons. But over those past four seasons, his on-base percentage has dropped every year – down to a pedestrian .309 in 2015. Andrew continues to have excellent range and is an overall positive with the glove. While he has 217 steals in his seven Major League seasons, Andrus has never cracked a league-average 100 OPS+. At $15 million per year, his offensive output is simply not enough.
Next: Other Shortstop Options