The Los Angeles Angels are expecting to get a welcome addition back to their lineup tonight as Brandon Drury is slated to be activated off of the Injured List. Drury had been out for over a month with a shoulder injury and his absence has been felt.
The Angels have a slew of players on the IL including Mike Trout, Logan O'Hoppe, and Anthony Rendon just to name a few, so it'll be nice to have Drury back. The veteran infielder has been one of the better hitters on the Angels all year and one of the best second basemen in the American League. He had a legitimate all-star game case before landing on the IL.
The question with Drury isn't if he's going to play or where. We know he's going to be the second baseman virtually every day. The question is who will he replace on the active roster? The answer should be Eduardo Escobar.
LA Angels should DFA Eduardo Escobar when Brandon Drury returns to the lineup
The Angels acquired Eduardo Escobar just days before Drury landed on the Injured List. With injuries to Rendon, Zach Neto, and Gio Urshela, the Halos needed infield depth badly, and Escobar provided that. He provided an immediate spark by recording back-to-back multi-hit games in his first two games as an Angel. Unfortunately, he's done very little outside of those two games.
Overall, Escobar is slashing .238/.278/.333 with one home run and ten RBI in 84 at-bats as an Angel. He's a corner infielder known for his power, yet all he has is one home run and four extra-base hits since joining the team.
Escobar has his uses. He can play any position in the infield and even has experience in the corner outfield spots. He's a switch-hitter who does have a .798 OPS against lefties this season. The problem here is he just doesn't have anywhere to play when Drury returns.
As things stand right now, C.J. Cron will get most of the starts at first base with Drury at second, Zach Neto at short, and Mike Moustakas at third. That's not even including Luis Rengifo who's been one of the Angels best hitters over the last month.
In terms of who Drury will replace, I think it's a three-man battle between Escobar, Andrew Velazquez, and Jordyn Adams. While Escobar is certainly the better hitter than Velazquez, he won't be playing much anyway. Velazquez offers better speed to come off the bench as a pinch runner, and better defense at any position Escobar plays except for first base. In terms of a sixth infielder who will rarely hit, Velazquez offers more.
When it comes to Adams, he's the backup outfielder. The Angels could make a guy like Rengifo the fourth outfielder, but he hasn't really played much center field and outside of Mickey Moniak, the Angels don't have a true center fielder on the roster if you take Adams off of it.
The likely outcome here is Velazquez is sent down because he has an option left and the Angels won't have to lose Escobar, but I'd disagree with that decision if it is indeed made.