Alcides Escobar's Contract Option to Be Picked Up by Royals: Details, Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2016

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 25:  Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals bats during a MLB game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 25, 2016 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images) *** Local caption *** Alcides Escobar
Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

Shortstop Alcides Escobar will return to the Kansas City Royals for a seventh season as the team is reportedly set to pick up his 2017 team option.  

Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball first reported the decision, with Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com confirming the report.

According to Spotrac, the 29-year-old veteran will earn $6.5 million during the upcoming season.

Escobar is coming off one of his best offensive seasons, as he hit .261 with 57 runs scored and 17 stolen bases to go along with a career-high seven home runs and 55 RBI. He also appeared in all 162 games for the second time in three years.

Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, Royals manager Ned Yost marveled at the Venezuela native's ability to compete day in and day out: "He just doesn't wear down. When he has injuries, he heals extraordinarily fast, so that he's not out a long time. He's got a very high tolerance for pain. He doesn't ever show any effects of it."

In fact, Escobar has appeared in at least 145 games in seven straight seasons dating back to his final campaign with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010 before getting traded to the Royals.

Escobar's greatest success came in 2015, as he was named to his first and only All-Star team and also won a Gold Glove for the first time.

In addition to that, Escobar was a key part of Kansas City's run to a World Series championship. He hit .321 with one home run, nine RBI, one stolen base and 13 runs scored, and he was named the American League Championship Series MVP.

Escobar averaged nearly 29 steals per season from 2011 through 2014, but he has run less over the past two campaigns and registered just 17 swipes in each.

Also, despite Escobar's Gold Glove, it is fair to question how great of a fielder he actually is. He posted a career-worst defensive runs saved above average of minus-6 last season, and since his career high of 10 in 2011, he has registered a positive figure just once, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Even if Escobar is somewhat overrated defensively and has become less of a threat on the basepaths, he remains among the most reliable shortstops in baseball.

He shows up to play every day, can be used near the top or bottom of the lineup and proved in the 2015 playoffs that he can come through in clutch situations.

Escobar is a good fit for a Royals team that thrives on being relentless and having flexibility within the lineup, so bringing him back at a fair price was an obvious move on its part. 

        

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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