Despite signing Jose Reyes to a minor league deal over the weekend, the Mets are still looking to upgrade at third base, having probably lost David Wright for the season to neck surgery and spinal stenosis. Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Mets have expressed interest in Angels’ third baseman Yunel Escobar. He tweeted that the Giants have also expressed interest.
Escobar, a 33-year-old journeyman who is playing for his fifth major league club, played the majority of his career at shortstop, although he has played third more or less exclusively since joining the Nationals in 2015. This year, he is hitting .310/.359/.409 in 301 plate appearances, good for a 112 OPS+.
Defensively, he has committed 12 errors this season—the most of any American League player at any position—and by Fangraphs Range Runs (RngR) statistic, he ranks 29th among big league third basemen with a minimum of 200 defensive innings. For reference, current Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores is ranked 28th, while hitting .240/.309/.368 in 139 plate appearances (OPS+ of 84).
While playing with Toronto in 2012, Escobar courted controversy when he wrote a Spanish-language homophobic slur on his eye black. Escobar’s teammates backed him up, saying it was a word tossed around quite liberally in the clubhouse, and Escobar apologized for offending anyone.
Escobar was signed by the Nationals to a two-year, $13 million contract before the 2015 season, and was traded to the Angels this past winter. He is making $5 million this year and is currently battling a bone bruise on his left knee.