Green or Peacock for Escobar?
My initial reaction to this was no way, but we all have a tendency to imagine our prospects blossoming into stars. From a pure baseball standpoint, Escobar, as awful a human being he has thus appeared to be, has appeared in at least 133 games each of the last five seasons. His low water mark for WAR is 1.8 which he achieved this year and he just celebrated his 30th birthday a month ago so we shouldn’t be concerned something else is going on like aging. He has been at his best (2009) a 4.4 WAR player. In 784 games he has been worth 18.7 WAR meaning should he play about 140 games he’d be worth 3.3 WAR. In today’s market that would cost you roughly $16.5M a season. Escobar is being paid $5M and has very reasonable $5M club options for 2014 and 2015. Translation, Escobar over three seasons would cost less than he is possibly worth for one. You have to look at that guy, and if Escobar wasn’t such an awful person as we’ve all been led to believe and as he has demonstrated at times quite publicly to everyone, who would not want that guy?
Peacock meanwhile seems like a good guy, I had the pleasure to meet him and felt that way in my brief interaction with him, and is a prospect with good upside. But, he was a guy who made his debut with Washington in 2011 and was expected to at least see some time in Oakland in 2012 but didn’t, why? Because he spent the season in Sacramento posting a 6.01 ERA (4.26 FIP, not that that is particularly impressive) with 9.3 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 in his 134 2/3 innings of work. In six minor league seasons and 719 innings he has a 4.32 ERA, at Triple-A that number rises to 5.27. Does it seem likely that number increases at the MLB level? One would think no, but he was tagged with Baseball America’s 36th best prospect in all of baseball before last season so there is some talent evident to many there. But the thing is, he hasn’t shown it, he was bi-passed by countless pitchers who started the season off the 40-man roster like A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily. And meanwhile, here the A’s have an opportunity to get a guy in Escobar who has shown talent, and a lot of it, and is being underpaid to show it. Might not be the worst idea ever.
Green has the same “issue”. He has a greater draft pedigree than Peacock, being a first round pick to Peacock’s 41st and though he has fallen off the radar a bit he has ranked as high as Baseball America’s #52 prospect (2010). He has been solid, if not spectacular, and is coming off two straight seasons where he is slightly better than average (wRC+ in Midland in 2011 of 101, and in Sacramento last season of 102). He is versatile (or more likely, Oakland just can’t figure out where to put him), having seen time in left and center field along with second base, third base and shortstop in 2012 with the River Cats. That all said he has seen the most games (212) in his MiLB career at shortstop. To some degree then the question could very well be is Escobar better than Green? The honest answer is yes. Green is posting barely above average wRC+’s for Double-A and Triple-A while Escobar is 103 in his career at the MLB level. Furthermore there are questions about Green’s ability to handle shortstop on a regular basis that is in part why he moved around the diamond so much – he surely wasn’t being blocked by Cliff Pennington, who did everything to stop from being a block all by himself in 2012.
The point is, when you break it down and think about it, either of these trades make sense for Oakland as a one-for-one. I have a tougher time justifying this if I am a Marlins fan because the salary dump doesn’t seem worth it as Escobar is so reasonably priced, and neither Green nor Peacock amaze me as much as they do in my dreams of them figuring it all out. The only doubt I have is how much of a clubhouse cancer is Escobar. Clearly that is affecting his value on the marketplace, and what impact does that have on other guys on the team, especially given he is older than many. If Billy Beane can have any concerns there alleviated, on the diamond this deal is a undoubtedly a good one. I have to say after thinking about this for a few hours, I am all in. Let’s do this.