• Character vs. Production

    In their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays earlier this week, the Marlins acquired a player who has been discussed in some circles as a potential target for the Twins: Yunel Escobar.

    The 30-year-old shortstop is coming off a rather tumultuous year in Toronto, but there's no denying that he's got some legitimate talent, which has been in short supply at the shortstop position here in Minnesota.

    Interestingly, the Marlins won't be using Escobar at short; instead they'll plug in young Adeiny Hechavarria, also acquired in the deal. The plan for now is to shift Escobar over to third, but Miami is reportedly open to flipping him and his $5 million salary.

    If he's available at a reasonable price, the Twins would have to at least consider. With a .282/.353/.390 career hitting line and very solid defense, he would represent a clear upgrade at a very problematic position, and he's under team control at a reasonable price through 2015. However, acquiring him also might require the Twins to go against their long-standing philosophy of focusing on character and clubhouse chemistry. I haven't met Yunel Escobar personally so I can't say with certainty that he's a bad dude, but he has a reputation as a malcontent and it didn't help that this season he was suspended for having hateful, homophobic language painted on his face during a game.

    Perhaps the Twins should welcome an opportunity to shake up their standards. By all accounts, the teams of the last two seasons have been filled with nice guys, but nevertheless the results were lousy. Maybe it's time for this front office to start focusing solely on production and on-field value, while dealing with auxiliary issues as they come up.

    Does Escobar provide enough on-field value to make pursuing him worthwhile? That's a very fair question in light of his performance this year. But as Terry Ryan and Co. make their evaluations, I hope they won't rule him out simply because of attitude problems. It's time to start prioritizing the quality of the product on the field over the climate in the locker room.
    This article was originally published in blog: Character vs. Production started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 61 Comments
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Yunel is not that good that you have to put up with his crap.
    1. Chris in Osaka's Avatar
      Chris in Osaka -
      Character and lockerroom issues are overrated. If he can hit, then he should be pursued.
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      yikes.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I don't know if Escobar is the right fit but I do think that the Twins seem a bit too homogenized. It's nice to have people around you that you get along with (and with whom the manager gets along) but sometimes it is the people who rub you the wrong way who push you to be your best.

      The whole approach of ditching (or avoiding) players with attitude seems lazy to me.

      (Not to mention that most of the players on this team lull (or should I say, "dull") me into a bored stupor).
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Escobar likely can't provide either so I don't see why he'd be worth it.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      There are a lot of people on this site who like to build these fancy statistical models. There is nothing wrong with that... More Power to ya... I do the same things in my spare time for my own amusement but you gotta realize that once you get past Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, Stanton, Pujols, Cabrera and the uber special ball players, you end up with slight degrees of seperation in talent with the rest of the bunch that over the course of 162 games is so tiny that it hardly matters. Any player can produce and have a week in the sun and any player can go cold for a stretch.

      The Difference between the .280 hitter and the .230 hitter is 5 hits over 100 at bats. If you consider this fact... Ladies and Gentlemen... Character ends up being the true difference that matters.

      Yunel Escobar doesn't hit a large amount of home runs... He doesn't drive in gobs of runners and he doesn't steal a ton of bases... and he has worn out his welcome with two major league teams. Are you all trying to convince me or others that those extra 5 hits every 30 games is going to turn us into an offensive force... This guy with the bad attitude is going to solve our SS problem.

      I have no problem with attitude... We could use some guys who get under the skin of his teammates because they stare them in the eye and say let's play some ball. Is that Escobar? or is he the attitude guy who goes through the motions and doesn't want to work on things if he doesn't feel like it. He's been run out of two clubhouses and I don't know why but I assume it's not because he's pushing his teammates to be the best that they can be.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Yunel had a pretty bad drop off last year so there is the danger that maybe he's declining or older than appears to be. But, depending on what we have to give up, I'd be ok with taking a flier on him. I'm not too concerned about his attitude. We won with Hudson and Rauch, both were bad club house guys and Cabrera came to us with a reputation for being a bit of a hothead and fit in perfectly.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      There are a lot of people on this site who like to build these fancy statistical models. There is nothing wrong with that... More Power to ya... I do the same things in my spare time for my own amusement but you gotta realize that once you get past Ryan Braun, Mike Trout, Stanton, Pujols, Cabrera and the uber special ball players, you end up with slight degrees of seperation in talent with the rest of the bunch that over the course of 162 games is so tiny that it hardly matters. Any player can produce and have a week in the sun and any player can go cold for a stretch.

      The Difference between the .280 hitter and the .230 hitter is 5 hits over 100 at bats. If you consider this fact... Ladies and Gentlemen... Character ends up being the true difference that matters.

      Yunel Escobar doesn't hit a large amount of home runs... He doesn't drive in gobs of runners and he doesn't steal a ton of bases... and he has worn out his welcome with two major league teams. Are you all trying to convince me or others that those extra 5 hits every 30 games is going to turn us into an offensive force... This guy with the bad attitude is going to solve our SS problem.

      I have no problem with attitude... We could use some guys who get under the skin of his teammates because they stare them in the eye and say let's play some ball. Is that Escobar? or is he the attitude guy who goes through the motions and doesn't want to work on things if he doesn't feel like it. He's been run out of two clubhouses and I don't know why but I assume it's not because he's pushing his teammates to be the best that they can be.
      You have gotta use better punctuation! It is very difficult to understand if you are making a statement(.) or asking a quesition(?).
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      I think all my statements are questionable and I don't know if there is punctuation for that.

      Also... What is this punctuation that you speak of?
    1. AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS's Avatar
      AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS -
      And people were arguing with me about whether to go after Stephen Drew and his bad attitude.....I would way rather have Stephen Drew then this giant piece of crap named Escobar.
    1. TK10's Avatar
      TK10 -
      These guys have to live together for 220 days a year. Attitude matters and someone who's a terrible human being will kill your team. Also, acquiring an avowed homophobe, in a market that just rejected adding homophobia to its state constitution, would really help the Twins acquire and keep the vital 20something demographic.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      I think five hits every 30 games IS significant. That's 25 more hits at the end of the season. Add two more players with a BA .050 higher and it's 15 hits every 30 games.

      Small differences add up over 162 games. That's the very nature of baseball.
    1. jm3319's Avatar
      jm3319 -
      I'd take a team of 25 A-holes that wins games over a team full of the 25 nicest guys on the planet that loses 90 games a season.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Riverbrian: I think you're drastically understating the impact that Escobar (producing at career levels) can have compared to Pedro Florimon and Co. You need to look past batting average and understand that over the course of a full season he's going to get on base a lot more, provide more pop and generally just be more of an asset in the lineup. He's also an accomplished defender whereas it's difficult to trust the glovework of anyone the Twins currently have.
      The notion that all non-star players are essentially interchangeable is strange to me. The way you beat other teams and win divisions is by having superior talent, even if only incrementally better. You can't overlook any opportunity to improve in any area.

      As far as Escobar's homophobia thing goes, I'm as bothered by it as anyone, but it was - to my knowledge - an isolated incident and we can't dismiss the possibility that he learned a lesson from the whole ordeal. It's worth noting that Delmon Young was known as a major problem child when the Twins acquired him and he had very few off-the-field issues during his time here. His performance was a much bigger issue than his attitude.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      Are there any additional "attitude" incidents beyond the one linked? I can't find any. If there aren't any other incidents, how does this one translate into being a bad clubhouse guy or demonstrate a pattern to be wary of? Sign him up.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Riverbrian View Post
      The Difference between the .280 hitter and the .230 hitter is 5 hits over 100 at bats. If you consider this fact... Ladies and Gentlemen... Character ends up being the true difference that matters.
      5 hits over 100 at bats is a pretty big difference. It sounds like less when you phrase it that way, but with an extra .050 of batting average Drew Butera would have hit .248 in 2012, making him a decent every day catcher.
    1. TK10's Avatar
      TK10 -
      I, like most, have made "youthful" mistakes. But I guess I'm skeptical that something like homophobia or racism can ever be an accident or mistake, youthful or otherwise. Having too much to drink and yakking on your buddy's couch is a youthful mistake. Failing an 8 a.m. class because you're too lazy to get out of bed is a youthful mistake.
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      It's frightening that so many posters don't know what an actual phobia is anymore.
    1. rico7961's Avatar
      rico7961 -
      Why wouldn't you take a chance on Escobar. At 5M a year for 2013 with Club options for 2014 and 2015 its a chance to take. TR likes not being obligated more than 1 year and Escobar ia a major league ss (something we haven't had since Hardy). If you don't have to give up too much to get him it definitely improves our team for next year without breaking the bank. He can bat 2,6,7,8 in the lineup and has had some pretty good season's both offensively and defensively.
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      The fact that he is coming off a down year and has a bad reputation would seem to make him a great buy low candidate. Its worth a phone call at least.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.