The Mets signed Kelvim Escobar off the scrap heap but the real surprise is that they gave him a Major League contract. Escobar has only pitched in one game in the last two seasons due to shoulder problems. But he has had a nice career in the American League. He’ll be this spring’s version of Freddy Garcia or Livan Hernandez. That is, seeing if he still has enough to pitch in the big’s at 33 years-old.
Escobar spent his first seven seasons in Toronto, coming up in 1997. He’s a Venezuelan that most recently pitched with the Angels. So I would assume that the Mets got some feedback from Francisco Rodriguez about him before the signing. Who would know him better than K-Rod?
If you look at Escobar’s split stats, he’s very consistent versus lefties and righties. He’s also pitched five games in his career against the Phillies going 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA. He also seems to have the most trouble from pitches 1-30 in his career, once he gets past that point in the game he’s pretty formidable. Maybe he can rekindle some of that old magic.
According to the NY Post, the deal is for a low base salary but we don’t know if incentives are included. They also note that the Mets see him as a reliever, maybe even a set up man, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s working out as a starter this spring.
I like the signing as a low-risk move that may give the Mets some depth. He could also wind up splitting time between starting and being the long man in the bullpen like Tim Redding did last season. And if he’s got nothing left, then they can cut him without a big problem. Although I probably wouldn’t have given him more than a minor league deal, it’s not a big risk.