When Alex Anthopoulos traded Alex Gonzalez to the Atlanta Braves for Yunel Escobar, the majority of Jays’ fans were fine with it.
Gonzalez on average will give you 16 HR and 70 RBI. Escobar on the other hand, had a great 2009; 14 HR, 76 RBI, .299 BA, .377 OBP. Not bad for a third year player in only his second full season commanding the middle infield.
Technically, not much difference when comparing the numbers, only that Anthopoulos traded for a much younger player, one whose skills and ability looked to be ready to blossom.
Trouble is, Escobar seemed to regress in 2010.
Escobar was playing in a pitchers park – Turner Field – while Gonzalez was in the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre. Unfortunately, Escobar’s number pre-and-post trade were extremely underwhelming and beg one to ask why?
The “shortstop of the future” showed signs of life when arriving in Toronto. Case in point, Escobar’s slugging percentage jumped 72 percentage points.
Unfortunately that can be attributed to a hitter friendly park and pitchers that are not familiar with his abilities.
The tell-tale sign of an unnoticed or quite possibly underlying issues was Escobar’s inability to produce; his 35 RBI’s weren’t even half of his 2009 total.
It mystifies me that someone with all the attributes was unable to find a rhythm in an offense that led the majors in home runs and slugging.
If this sounds familiar you’re right. The underachieving tag has made its way to Jose Reyes, who, for whatever reason, has not quite lived up to the lofty expectations that we as fans paste on many.
In the meantime, Reyes and Escobar are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Reyes an established veteran at 28 entering his ninth MLB season, and never had the drop-off Escobar had.
Plus, for $9 million plus a season, no matter what Reyes does might not ever be good enough.
Escobar’s salary is equivalent to approximately 31 percent of his National League counterpart.
In layman’s terms; Yunel can get away with this for another year or two until the what if whispers become a reality.
Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective