Ask Gary: What is former Ray Escabar’s reputation?

by Gary Shelton on July 22, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

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Saturday, 6 a.m.

What can you tell us from an insiders perspective about Yunel Escobar. Always one of my favorite players when he was here, I've followed him since he left. He had a great 2015 for the 'Nats..I'll bet Rizzo and Baker would love to have him back now that their playoff hopes are challenged by having the worst on base-percentage from the lead-off spot in the National League and he is playing very well on an Angels team going nowhere. Does he have somewhat of a bad reputation among MLB GMs? He seemed to have survived the homophobe eyeblackgate of his early time in Toronto, yet the Rays pregame host Orestes Destrada recently said on air, "he's not my kind of Cuban ." Huh, what's going on here? Isn't Escobar highly underrated and overlooked for some reason other than his performance? That's all I'm asking!

Richard Wade

Before Escobar played for Joe Maddon, he admits he was a brash young hothead who rubbed some people the wrong way. He always gave Maddon loads of credit for his maturity.

Even when Escobar was here, he had the reputation of being a bit of a loner, one of those stats-driven guys who can help in small doses, but no team seems to want to buy a long term contract with him.

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I don't think Escobar was a bad guy. He was a bit of a showman. But Joe Maddon used to love the guy. All the things that drove other managers crazy brought a smile to Maddon's face. He would have kept him for a long time.

Escobar was a good player better  for the Rays. He was very good, good beyond affordability.

I didn't hear Orestes' criticism. I know Orestes is fiercely proud of his Cuban roots. I don't think his personality would be a perfect fit with Destrade's. I think Yunel is a bit too flashy for Orestes' tastes. But I'll say this. A lot of teams that have turned loose of Yunel miss his numbers. He's very good, even if he's about  step slow on defense to call great.

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