Mets trade Eduardo Escobar to the Angels for two pitching prospects
The Mets acquired the Angels 19th and 20th ranked prospects in exchange for Escobar - New York will pay all but the league minimum on Escobar's contract
The Mets made what seemed like an inevitable move on Friday night, trading INF Eduardo Escobar to the Angels for minor league RHP’s Coleman Crow and Landon Marceaux.
The Mets will pay all but the prorated sum of the major league minimum on the remainder of Escobar’s contract, according to the New York Post.
Escobar had seen his playing time diminish as he gave way to top prospect Brett Baty at third base. He struggled early this year which led the Mets to promoting Baty from Triple-A Syracuse, going just 6-for-his-first-48 at the plate before the Mets brought Baty to the big leagues. He did see experience an uptick in his performance in limited duty, as he hit .323/.373/.548 in 26 games since April 18. Between that and the Angels need to fill a void on their infield due to injuries, the Angels clearly saw a short-term fit with Escobar in exchange for a couple of low-ceiling prospects.
Crow, 22, has appeared in 24 games for Double-A Rocket City in the Southern League this season, going 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. He is the Angels 19th best prospect, per MLB.com, and was the Angels’ 28th round pick in the 2019 draft. His fastball sits in the low 90s with good sinking action, which helps him generate a good percentage of ground ball outs. He has been on the injured list since April.
Marceaux, 23, has struggled in 12 appearances this season, pitching to a 4.88 ERA with 45 strikeouts 72 hits allowed along with 19 walks in 59 innings pitched for Double-A Rocket City. He was the Angels’ third round pick in the 2019 draft, has a low 90s fastball but his low strikeout rate is off-set by his ability to generate a good number of ground balls.
What does this move signal for the Mets as they head into the summer and their strategy ahead of the trade deadline?
Probably not much at this point in time.
It made little sense to retain Escobar in such a limited role, even if the Mets will pay out most of what’s left on the two-year, $19.5 million contract he signed before the 2022 season (there is a $9 million club option for him in 2024 with a $500,000 buyout). Rather, they chose to parlay Escobar and the minimal value he was providing for two pitching prospects they sorely need in an effort to restock the top of their minor league system, which is barren of any significant pitching depth at this time.
That’s not to say that either Crow or Marceaux will be able to help the big league club at any point in 2023, but with the Mets lacking any sort of short or long-term pitching depth at the top of their minor league system, the Mets needed to do something to better position the organization internally over a longer period of time, and moving a devalued piece in Escobar for such assets made quite a bit of sense for the Mets now while helping the Angels fill a short-term need.
Of course, there’s probably little reason to believe the Mets would’ve moved Escobar if their season were on the rails, as Escobar has proven to be a quality “less is more” piece for them off the bench, and would be a valuable, albeit expensive bench piece if the team was contending.
So, time will tell if the Mets will or are able to move other veteran underperforming players in their walk years in an effort to restock and retool for 2024. A lot depends on whether or not the Mets can play their way into the playoff conversation over the next 30 days or so, and the performance of those players who have been a part of their problems in the first half of the season.