Alcides Escobar, who turned 35 final month, was enjoying at Triple-A in Kansas Metropolis’s system this previous season when the Washington Nationals acquired the 11-year veteran and introduced him again to the majors for the primary time since 2018.
A World Series winner with the Royals again in 2015, Escobar performed at Triple-A in the Chicago White Sox’ group in ‘19, and spent the 2020 marketing campaign in Japan, earlier than returning to search for one other alternative in the majors in the U.S.
Escobar put up a .274/.311/.452 line with seven doubles and 5 dwelling runs in 35 video games and 133 PAs at Triple-A Omaha earlier than the Nationals acquired him in early July and gave him the shot the infielder was after.
“Very excited and completely satisfied that the crew was ready to give me this chance to be part of this crew,” he mentioned in a July third Zoom name with reporters, “… and do something I can potential to assist them win and provides them essentially the most out of me to give you the option to do that and assist them win in any manner potential.”
An harm to Trea Turner and a necessity at quick supplied the chance.
“He’s [an 11]-year veteran, main league participant, performed in the postseason, performed in the World Sequence, good glove, he’s been hitting the ball rather well, so we thought he’d be a superb match,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez mentioned as soon as Escobar joined the membership.
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“Not solely can he play shortstop, however he may also play totally different positions in the infield as nicely.”
The harm to Turner wasn’t a long-term one, however Escobar mentioned he hoped he had one thing to supply even when the Nationals didn’t want him to play day-after-day.
“I really feel like from the bench I can positively assist encourage, hopefully maintain the power up, and I can play a little bit little bit of second as nicely, and check out to play on days when guys want some relaxation and possibly get in that manner, however greater than something assist encourage from the bench, this crew, in order that I might help them in that regard,” he defined.
The infielder had a .271/.340/.375 line in the month July, with 5 doubles, a triple, and a homer over a complete of 23 video games and 108 PAs, then Turner was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers on the July thirtieth commerce deadline, and Escobar performed 52 video games over the ultimate two months, posting a .296/.340/.417 line with 16 doubles, one other triple, and three extra dwelling runs in his first run in the majors in three years.
“I feel simply the expertise that I’ve had has led me to carry out the best way I’ve so nicely. It’s been since 2018, and simply the expertise I’ve had and the work I’ve put in like I mentioned earlier, has simply helped me carry out the best way I’ve,” Escobar mentioned early in his time in D.C.
The street again was not a straightforward one.
“It positively was a little bit tough,” Escobar mentioned, “particularly enjoying a full season in Japan. I by no means had that have, however I did assume it helped me develop, and I discovered loads from enjoying on the market. It allowed me I feel to get again to this level, it helped me get signed again with Kansas Metropolis, began at Triple-A, and I feel I confirmed sufficient to the place I used to be ready to get the chance [from] the Nationals to come again and play on the large league stage.”
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With a few weeks left in the season, Escobar talked about what he achieved with the Nationals.
“Ever for the reason that first second that I acquired to this crew, I used to be keen to do something it took to assist the crew win,” he mentioned.
“Whether or not I used to be on the sphere or off the sphere, I used to be going to do something I might to assist the crew win.
“And I’ve been working arduous and giving essentially the most out of me to do that and to this point it’s been understanding.”
He additionally embraced the position of mentor to younger gamers like Luis García and Carter Kieboom, who performed on both facet of the veteran in the final weeks of the season, as they acquired a protracted look as a part of the membership’s reboot of the group.
“My solely job proper now it to assist the younger guys,” Escobar mentioned in August. “I do know there’s a little bit extra stress on them to play day-after-day, and I’m simply right here — like I mentioned earlier than to the press — I’m simply right here to assist out any manner I can, and proper now I really feel like I’ve to assist them as a lot as potential.”
The way in which issues have been going for the Nationals, who misplaced 50 of 73 video games in the second-half, it was essential that veterans like Escobar present an instance how to proceed to work as knowledgeable whatever the end result on the finish of the video games.
“Particularly proper now with the crew dropping a lot,” he mentioned, “it’s one thing that — maintain working arduous and hopefully flip issues round. Baseball could be very tough, and it’s a kind of stuff you simply acquired to maintain working and mainly encourage them, maintain their heads up and encourage them to get previous this.”
Escobar’s supervisor mentioned late in the season that he appreciated what the veteran introduced to the membership.
“He’s such an unbelievable individual to be round and the man is all the time cheerful, he’s all the time excited to play. He loves to play,” Martinez mentioned.
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Together with his versatility defensively and success on the plate, the skipper mentioned on the time, it would stand to motive that Escobar can be in the dialogue for 2022.
“It is going to be a dialog we’ll positively have on the finish of the season about probably bringing him again right here,” he mentioned.
“However I like — like I mentioned — his angle has been large, and he’ll do something, hit wherever, do no matter you ask him to do.”
Two days after they performed their ultimate recreation of the 2021 marketing campaign, the Nationals re-signed Escobar to what’s reportedly a 1-year/$1M deal, bringing him again for one more season.
“[Escobar] joined the Nationals on July third,” the membership famous in a press launch on the brand new deal, “… and from that time by way of the tip of the season, ranked [1st] on the membership in doubles (21), [and] hits (92), and [2nd] batting common with runners in scoring place (.379).”
Escobar had additionally reached base in 18-straight video games when the Nationals’ ‘21 season got here to an finish, with a .346/.393/.506 line in that stretch.