For a team who has embraced their rebuild ten-fold, bringing back a veteran infielder on an extremely team friendly contract was a must. As for their first transaction of the offseason, the Washington Nationals get an A-plus.
Alcides Escobar was unemployed when teams broke camp after Spring Training this year. A string of minor league contracts had left the former All-Star and ALCS MVP, last appearing in the Majors in 2018 and now he couldn’t even land a minors job. It was early May before the Kansas City Royals, a former employer of Escobar, reached out and offered him a spot in their minor league system.
For Escobar to land with the Nationals, as an injury to Trea Turner (as well as Carter Kieboom and Luis Garcia at the AAA level) left the team looking for a veteran presence on the infield. The Royals sold Escobar to Washington for what probably amounted to the proverbial bag of balls.
Acquired as nothing more than a stop gap solution at shortstop, Escobar ultimately took over the the permanent job once Turner was traded to the Dodgers, and proved at 34 years old, he could still play.
In re-signing infielder Alcides Escobar, the Washington Nationals take another step in the right direction.
Whether Escobar becomes the every day shortstop, or is a utility infielder backing up one of the younger players on the team, having him on the roster is going to prove beneficial.
The defense first player offers versatility and pleasantly surprised the team with a .288 batting average and 21 doubles during his time in Washington. As the Nationals play a younger lineup, they run the risk of taking a few shots on the chin, much like they did the final two months of this season. A veteran presence can help stabilize the lineup.
A one year deal, worth one million dollars, for a guy who won’t be around when the Nationals are serious about winning games again. Perfect. Similar to the Josh Harrison deal at the same time last year, only good things can happen from this agreement.
With the offseason in its infancy, there will be other moves to make, especially once free agency officially begins. With one move in the books, the Nationals are off to a great start.