Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: NPB Standout Edwin Escobar on the Radar

St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates
St Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

In the ever-evolving landscape of baseball, former top pitching prospect Edwin Escobar has resurfaced as a potential asset for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Escobar's journey, spanning multiple systems, saw him rise through the ranks, notably with the Giants, who included him in a trade that involved Pittsburgh Pirates legend Heath Hembree.

Debuting with the Red Sox in 2014, Escobar's MLB stint was brief and challenging, reflected in a career ERA over 7 in just 25 innings. However, a transformative chapter awaited him in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. Since 2016, Escobar has flourished as a reliable lefty reliever, amassing almost 400 innings with an impressive career ERA of 3.14.

For the Pittsburgh Pirates, the prospect of acquiring Escobar presents an intriguing proposition.

The team, in need of a lefty presence in the bullpen alongside Jose Hernandez, initially looked to Jarlin Garcia, who signed last offseason. Unfortunately, Garcia's season-long injury setback prompted the Pirates to explore alternatives. He has since elected free agency.

Edwin Escobar fits the bill as a lower-cost acquisition, aligning with the Pirates' typical approach to free agents. Recent reports suggest the Pittsburgh Pirates, along with the Chicago Cubs, are actively exploring the possibility of adding the veteran reliever to their roster. Earlier this offseason Ben Cherington did mention that he would be looking at all avenues to add big-league talent.

As the Pittsburgh Pirates weigh their options, Escobar's success in the NPB stands as a testament to his resilience and adaptability. This is a trend that has become somewhat popular recently, with Big League players who are struggling to go to play overseas to try and figure it out again. In fact, Gregory Polanco is a recent Bucco who is now playing in the NPB. The most famous of course is former Pirate pitcher Ryan Vogelsong and Cardinals' ace Mile Mikolas.

So it is not unrealistic to think that Escobar may have figured some stuff out that will make him more effective in Major League Baseball. Could he become the missing piece in the Pirates' bullpen puzzle? Only time will tell as the team navigates the dynamic landscape of player acquisitions in the pursuit of success.