Escobar, who just turned 34, continued to hit after heading to Los Angeles last winter in a deal that sent reliever Trevor Gott to the Nationals. He ended with a .304/.355/.391 batting line and five home runs over 567 plate appearances.
Ultimately, the veteran infielder isn’t a terribly exciting option. He doesn’t walk a ton but also rarely strikes out, and relies upon batting average to make up for below-average power. While he has carried a rather lofty batting average on balls in play over the last two years (.347 and .339, respectively), that’s supported in some part by the fact that Escobar keeps the ball on a line or on the ground much more than the league-average hitter. (He hit fly balls just 20.8% of the time, as against the league’s 34.6% rate.)
Though he was long a shortstop, Escobar isn’t considered a valuable defender at third. Both UZR and DRS have rated him as well below average at the hot corner in each of the last two seasons. Still, there’s value in the fact that Escobar can handle third reasonably, and also that he’d presumably be able to take residence at second if needed.
All said, it was an easy call for the Halos to make. The team recently added another one-year veteran in Cameron Maybin, and is looking to fill in needs on limited commitments wherever necessary. Locking in Escobar leaves the team looking to add a second baseman (or, perhaps, a third baseman) and build out the pitching staff. The future payroll situation remains unchanged thus far, maintaining some flexibility for the organization.