Injuries wound up being a huge factor in the 2023 season for the Los Angeles Angels. They're not the only reason the team wound up winning just 73 games, but they certainly impacted things. One player the Angels acquired in an attempt to counteract their injury woes was Eduardo Escobar.
With Anthony Rendon, Zach Neto, and Gio Urshela all injured, the Angels desperately needed infield depth to avoid having to play the likes of Kevin Padlo every day. Perry Minasian was ultra-aggressive trading for Escobar more than one month before the trade deadline. Because of how early the deal was made, the Angels had to give up a decent amount to land him.
The Angels acquired Eduardo Escobar on June 23 in a trade with Billy Eppler and the Mets, more than one month before the trade deadline. It was the first noteworthy trade of the year for the Angels, and it wound up aging very poorly.
The Eduardo Escobar trade could wind up being costly for the LA Angels
In the deal for Eduardo Escobar, the Angels gave up two pitching prospects in Coleman Crow and Landon Marceaux. While these two aren't household names by any means, they were two top-20 prospects in this subpar Angels system at the time. Crow was a piece especially hard to see leave as he had gotten off to a great start for AA Rocket City and looked like a player the Angels could've used down the line.
Crow wound up pitching in just four games this season while Marceaux had a 5.50 ERA this season and also ended up finishing the year on the IL. In a vacuum, the Angels really didn't give up too much. The problem is, they gave these guys up for a player who contributed virtually nothing as an Angel.
Escobar was struggling with the Mets but was still a switch-hitting versatile infielder with a great track record. He at the very least was an adequate defender who could hit lefties well. His offense never showed up as an Angel, unfortunately.
In 59 games for the Angels he slashed .219/.259/.303 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 189 plate appearances. He had an OPS+ of 53 as an Angel. For reference, Brett Phillips hit three home runs in 71 plate appearances as an Angel and had an OPS+ of 63. Phillips was often ridiculed (rightfully so) for his inability to hit, but Escobar was even worse. By a considerable margin too.
The Angels went just 20-39 in games Escobar played in for them, and the trade proved to give them just nothing of value while they might've given up future MLB players.
Escobar's Angels tenure has officially come to an end as the Angels declined his club option for the 2024 season. There's a lot of uncertainty as to who Anthony Rendon's backup will be in 2024, but whoever it is will almost certainly be more productive than Escobar was with the Angels.