The Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks made significant moves on Friday, acquiring Asdrubal Cabrera and Eduardo Escobar respectively. The New York Mets received pitcher Franklyn Kilome – Philadelphia’s no. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline – for Cabrera. The Minnesota Twins were dealt Gabriel Maciel, Jhoan Duran and Ernie De La Trinidad for Escobar.
Arizona’s depleted farm meant any trade was going to be quantity rather than quality. That’s exactly what they managed here. The Phillies have one of the top farms in baseball, allowing a simpler one-player deal. Kilome has upside, for sure, but valuations are varied with some seeing him as a future reliever.
Inside the organization, people were split on Kilomé’s future. Some saw a backend starter, others a middle reliever. Plus stuff, questionable command. Other SP in org leapfrogged him. https://t.co/CwD7VrYOUp
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 27, 2018
Escobar and Cabrera are switch-hitters. Both are comfortable playing second or short, but Escobar is the more versatile of the two, having played a fair bit of corner outfield and over 75 games at third this year. They’re hitting just over .270 in 2018 with a few walks and respectable power. Escobar led the American League in doubles, Cabrera has 18 homers.
Escobar is the perfect fit for Arizona, and the marginally better player of the two. His positional flexibility is a bonus for the Dbacks, and his ability to hit from both sides will help their struggling leftside of the infield, namely platoon-needing Jake Lamb. Arizona are still contenders to win the National League West or snatch a wildcard spot. These moves are what we expect from contending teams, and few are more ‘win now’ than the Diamondbacks, who are likely to lose A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin this offseason.
The Phillies are in a different situation. Their window is just opening and, despite supposedly being involved in Manny Machado talks, retaining prospects who could help the team in 2019 and beyond is still key.
Although Kilome’s ceiling is still high, this is a shrewd move for a team leading their division. The absence of J.P. Crawford and struggles of Scott Kingery (.236/.278/.341 in 367 PAs) made an infield addition a necessity. Adrian Beltre had been mentioned, as had Mike Moustakas, but Cabrera – who is a free agent at season’s end – fits the bill.
Had to happen
These trades needed to happen, if either of these teams are to make a meaningful postseason run. The Arizona and Philadelphia front offices may well be active again before the non-waiver deadline at the end of the month, too. Beating the Cubs or Dodgers is still a relative longshot, particularly without bullpen additions, but adding experienced, versatile players to a playoff-level roster is good business. Neither had to blow their farm up to get the deal done, either.
Arizona look to have won the middle infield National League arms race for now, though. Escobar is having a superb year in the often forgotten about American League Central, and adds depth to a line-up that can look thin around Paul Goldschmidt.
With only a couple of days to go, the trade deadline chaos is just getting started. Escobar and Cabrera might not be the household names to capture the imagination of everyone, but these could be two of the best deals made this summer.