The Royals turned back the clock Tuesday, announcing that they’ve agreed to terms with veteran shortstop Alcides Escobar on a minor league deal. Escobar, the Royals’ everyday shortstop for their 2014-15 World Series teams, will head to Triple-A Omaha to begin the season.
Now 34 years old, Escobar was one of the key pieces Kansas City received in the 2010 trade that sent Zack Greinke to Milwaukee. Coming over alongside Lorenzo Cain, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress, Escobar quickly established himself as a foundational piece for the Royals. He was never a huge contributor at the plate, but at his best he hit for a respectable average while racking up 30-plus steals per year and flashing Gold Glove-caliber leather.
Escobar has appeared in parts of eight seasons with the Royals in the past, batting a combined .259/.292/.344 in just over 5000 plate appearances. He spent the 2020 season with the Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, hitting .273/.312/.329 through 104 games.
Escobar is on hand as a depth piece right now, but with Adalberto Mondesi still sidelined and being no stranger to prolonged stints on the injured list, it makes sense to bring in some veteran depth. The Royals have already gotten a notable portion of the 2014-15 band back together, as they currently have Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Jarrod Dyson on the MLB roster alongside franchise cornerstones Salvador Perez and Danny Duffy.
Nicky Lopez has been handling shortstop work in Mondesi’s absence and has performed well in the early stages of the season, but he has a limited track record at the plat. If his bat steps back or if the Royals incur further injuries in the middle infield, it’s possible that Escobar will be brought back into the fold and given another reunion tour in front of the Kansas City faithful.