Milwaukee BrewersDownload App

Milwaukee Brewers Sign Free-Agent Pitcher Kelvim Escobar

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitcher Kelvim Escobar #45 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poses during Photo Day on February 22, 2007 at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Andrew MartinCorrespondent IIINovember 28, 2016

The Milwaukee Brewers’ hunt for pitching took an interesting turn yesterday when the team signed veteran free-agent pitcher Kelvim Escobar.

MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy wrote that the right-handed Escobar received a minor league deal that includes a spring training invitation.

Escobar took it upon himself to tweet about his new contract from his personal account.

Buenas tardes, quiero compartir con Uds esta buena noticia.... Acabo de firmar con los @brewers contrato de #MLB por 1 año

kelvim escobar (@kelvimescobar) January 10, 2013

Although Escobar, who will be 37 shortly after the start of the season, has pitched in exactly one major league game since 2007 because of injuries, the Brewers believe he offers enough potential to give him a chance at a comeback.

Escobar has pitched effectively as both a starter and reliever in the past, but at this stage of his career is probably ill-suited for a big-innings role.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt quoted Milwaukee assistant general manager Gord Ash as saying Escobar is auditioning for a spot in their bullpen. “He'll get plenty of opportunity in the bullpen and we'll see what he can do. He has done both (starting and relieving) and done them well but I always thought he was dominant out of the bullpen.”

Escobar is a veteran of 12 major league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels. He has a career record of 101-91 with a 4.15 ERA and 59 saves.

His best season came in 2007, when he posted an 18-7 record with a 3.40 ERA and 160 strikeouts in 30 starts with the Angels.

Escobar suffered a shoulder injury prior to the 2008 season, causing him to miss the entire year. After rehabbing, he made several starts in the minors in 2009 before making a five-inning start for the Angels against the Detroit Tigers in June. Unfortunately, he re-injured his shoulder in that game and hasn't pitched in the majors since.

McCalvy wrote that the Brewers were interested in Escobar as long ago as before the 2010 season. However, he signed with the New York Mets but was never able to pitch in any games for them because of his injuries.

Playing in the Venezuelan Winter League this winter, Escobar showed he could still pitch and became interested in making a comeback. In 11 innings, he had a 1.64 ERA and received favorable reports from Milwaukee scouts, according to Haudricourt.

McCalvy wrote that Manny Batista, the Brewers’ director of Latin American scouting, reported that Escobar was hitting the mid-90s with his fastball and generally looked good on the mound.

Despite his prior success as a starter, Escobar is no stranger to the bullpen, as he had 38 saves for the Blue Jays in 2002.

The deal is a no-brainer for Milwaukee. If Escobar has anything left, the team will have another interesting arm to slide into their bullpen. If he doesn't, they can part ways without having lost anything.

Everyone loves a comeback story, and the Brewers will undoubtedly be pleased if their gamble with Escobar pays off. But nobody will be happier than Escobar if he is able to successfully resume his pitching career after so much time away.

 

Statistics via BaseballReference

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices