So the Mets have suddenly done a 180 on character...first it was Marlon Byrd, then came Bartolo Colon, next was the reunion with Jose Reyes and now they're considering the acquisition of Yunel Escobar to help their beleaguered offense.
For those of you who do not remember, Escobar has not been exactly beloved in any of his five MLB clubhouses and was suspended in Toronto for putting the word, "Maricon" in his eye black prior to taking the field. For those of you who do not speak Spanish, the rough English equivalent is "faggot".
Now Escobar maintains that he was using it in the same way someone might use the word "retarded" to describe something less-than-brilliant, rather than its exact meaning as mental deficiency. In other words, he meant no harm.
While ballplayers have all said/done things they regret, it's not the first time this issue has arisen. In fact, Noah Syndergaard got called onto the carpet when in the minors for using the word "fag" in a Twitter conversation with a friend as a put-down of sorts.
So assuming we can forget the character issues (as the Mets apparently have), let's look at Escobar from a purely baseball standpoint. He's a good hitter. This year his power is down a bit with just 3 HRs and 20 RBIs but he's hitting .310 which is above his career mark of .282. His defense has been in steady decline for years and he's considered something of a liability wherever you play him. He's earning $7 million with an option for 2017 at the same salary with a $1 million buyout. The deal has the Washington Nationals paying $1.5 million of his 2016 salary which would carry over should the Mets go ahead and acquire him from the Halos of Anaheim (or whatever they're calling themselves this week). A pro-rated $5.5 million would make for a better bench option than Alejandro De Aza, for sure, but he's a sunk cost.
Could he help? Sure...in a James Loney kind of way, he's a high average/low-power type of hitter. The problem is that the club is without potentially 60 HRs between Lucas Duda and David Wright, so I'm not sure this solution is the right one.
Furthermore, acquisition of Escobar would either make him a rather expensive bench piece in the supersub role (able to man 2B, SS and 3B all poorly), or would push Wilmer Flores into that position. All Flores has done since becoming a regular in June is hit .319. And he earns close to minimum wage.
If it's my money, instead of sacrificing scant resources in minor league trade chips to acquire someone who would be a nice-to-have but not a -- to use Sandy Alderson's terminology -- difference maker, I'd sooner see them simply spend money and push hard for the Cuban free agent Yuliesky Gourriel who is available to the highest bidder come Saturday. Then you could have the minimum wage Wilmer Flores as a supersub or platoon partner for Loney at 1B.