Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar may well be the best defensive shortstop in the American League, if not in all of baseball. Finally recognized with a Gold Glove award, his glove is the glue for the Royals stellar infield. But is that really enough to look to keep Escobar around?
Pros: Of all the Royals upcoming free agents, Escobar may cost the least to retain. As the vast majority of his value is tied to his defense and speed, Escobar’s market may be somewhat limited, even with other teams beginning to value defensive capability far more than they had in recent years.
Cons: Escobar’s offense, despite being a good luck charm atop the Royals lineup, is not exactly going to remind anyone of Cal Ripken or Honus Wagner. His career .262/.298/.344 batting line is worth an OPS+ of 76, and would be easily replaced. With the Royals top prospect, Raul Mondesi, likely ready to take over at short by the end of 2017, is Escobar really worth the money?
Verdict: The only way that it may make sense to retain Alcides Escobar would be if the Kansas City Royals look to move Mondesi to second base, given the black hole that position has been over the years. However, the cost to retain Escobar is likely to be far more than his overall value to the team.
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