The Indians announced that left-handed pitcher Edwin Escobar has been designated for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, whose three-year contract with Cleveland is now official.
Cleveland originally picked up the 24-year-old Escobar off waivers from the Diamondbacks in November, so his time with the organization could come to an end before he so much as throws a pitch. Escobar tossed 23 2/3 innings of relief for Arizona this past season and yielded a 7.23 ERA (19 earned runs) with a 17-to-12 K/BB ratio in that time (three of the walks were intentional). He’s pitched better in Triple-A but still comes with a modest track record, having compiled a 4.63 ERA with 6.5 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 in 286 innings at that level.
Escobar won’t turn 25 until late April, so he’s still relatively young, and he’s traditionally held lefties in check quite well. In 2016, same-handed batters hit .266/.329/.329 against him between the Majors and Triple-A, and in three of the four prior seasons, he held lefties to a sub-.600 OPS. As a former Top 100 prospect and a player with baseball in his bloodlines — Escobar is the cousin of Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar, Angels righty Vicente Campos and retired right-hander Kelvim Escobar — Escobar could find himself claimed by a rival club looking to add some left-handed depth to its ranks.