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New York holds its breath on deGrom, and an offensive addition that isn't getting enough love
Jacob deGrom experienced tightness in his throwing shoulder on Thursday. Plus, why aren't we talking more about Eduardo Escobar?
What’s Up with the Mets? 🌴
RHP Jacob deGrom is experiencing shoulder tightness and has officially been scratched from today’s start (Story)
Taijuan Walker went 3.2 scoreless innings and threw 54 pitches in the team’s 7-3 loss last night
RHP Edwin Díaz did not fare well in his relief appearance on Thursday, serving up a home run to Juan Soto and making an erratic throwing error
3B Eduardo Escobar hit his 2nd homer of the spring
David Wright visited Mets camp Thursday as a guest instructor
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets at Cardinals
Where: Roger Dean Stadium — Jupiter, FL
Starters: Félix Peña vs. Dakota Hudson
When: 1:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: MLB.tv
The addition that isn’t getting enough attention 📝
The Mets’ successful offseason has been well documented and spoken about ad nauseam. Obviously loading their rotation with star power with Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt joining Jacob deGrom was going to make headlines. And signing Starling Marte and Mark Canha to address the outfield was justifiably met with massive approval.
But there’s one addition the Mets made this past winter which deserves more praise than it has gotten to-date, and that’s the free-agent signing of infielder Eduardo Escobar.
The veteran switch-hitter is slated to be the Mets’ starting third baseman in 2022, but he has experience at short and second—and has even played a handful of games at first. That versatility will surely come in to play as New York tries to optimize their lineup on a daily basis.
But as fans and media alike mentally construct their ideal lineup, Escobar’s name isn’t being discussed with enough recognition.
In the last two full MLB seasons, the 33-year-old has driven in 208 runs. He’s a pro’s pro with a strong clubhouse presence who has long been one of the better situational hitters in the game. He was an all-star a year ago and was one of the biggest offensive difference makers that changed uniforms at the deadline last summer—the Brewers acquired him from Arizona for the stretch run.
Escobar owns a lifetime slash line of .256/.309/.436 and has collected over 55 extra-base hits in a season four separate times. He’s had five seasons with an OPS over .750.
With that said, Escobar could very well fit in as follows:
His switch-hitting ability would help keep the middle of the line-up balanced, with Mark Canha, Dom Smith, JD Davis, Robinson Canó, and Jeff McNeil following in some order depending on who is playing that day.
In addition, Escobar’s arrival does more for this team that simply improving their everyday lineup. Last week he took it upon himself to speak to the Mets’ minor leaguers about hard work and perseverance. Sharing stories from his own challenging childhood, Escobar encouraged New York’s prospects to always keep learning and don’t be afraid to pick the brains of veterans.
With all the attention Philadelphia’s additions of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos have garnered this month, it’s important to realize those moves don’t necessarily overshadow what the Mets have done. Escobar might not be as big or sexy of a name nationally, but he’s as solid a player as there is in the game and somebody who plays the game the right way, leading by example and usually does something to help his team win every day.
When people have looked at the NL East and attempted to handicap how the race might unfold, the three things most observers agree on are that the Mets have the best rotation (if healthy, of course), the Braves have the best bullpen, and the Phillies have the top everyday offensive lineup. But I would urge you strongly to not discount what the Mets are going to be able to do from a run producing standpoint as well as their already strong run prevention capabilities.
If fans on the east coast don’t know enough about Eduardo Escobar after he spent the majority of his career in Minnesota and Arizona, give it just a couple more weeks. I promise you’re going to like what you see.
Around the League 🚩
The Pirates acquired versatile Josh VanMeter from Arizona in exchange for minor league pitcher Listher Sosa (Mackey)
The Phillies hired Jimmy Rollins as a special advisor to the front office (NBC Philadelphia)
Sandy Leon has opted out of his minor league deal with Cleveland (MLB.com)
The Angels signed former Nationals’ RHP Wander Suero to a minor league deal (Washington Post)
The Braves released utility man Brock Holt (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Pittsburgh and San Diego have been discussing a trade involving Pirates All-Star OF Bryan Reynolds (Nightengale)
The Royals exercised their 2023 option on manager Mike Matheny
MLB and the MLBPA officially announced a series of rule changes that had already been discussed publicly (MLB.com)