While it’s still unconfirmed by the club at this point, it appears there’s enough smoke to say that the Brewers will be signing former Angels right-hander Kelvim Escobar. The news first hit Twitter thanks to Angels broadcaster Jose Mota:
Former Angels RHP Kelvim Escobar signs with Brewers…Lanzador derecho venezolano Kelvim Escobar acaba de llegar a acuerdo con Milwakee
— José Mota (@JoseMota05) January 10, 2013
Adam McCalvy says it will be a minor league deal, not a major league deal as originally reported (or feared) by others.
— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) January 10, 2013
The big league camp invite will allow the Brewers to get a closer look at Escobar without having to make room for him on the 40-man roster. If he were to make the team out of spring training, a spot would have to be cleared.
Escobar saw a 12-year major league career get derailed in 2008 and 2009 thanks to severe shoulder issues. After putting up a 3.40 ERA (3.39 FIP) over 195.2 innings for the Halos in 2007, Escobar missed the entire 2008 season and was only able to make one start in 2009. He’s tried to make a handful of comebacks in recent years, but it looks like he may have finally found a taker at age 36.
This is a difficult move to analyze, because no one can possibly gauge what he has left. He has pitched in winter ball this year, but has only thrown 11 innings.
For his major league career, Escobar carried a 7.82 K/9 rate and a 3.65 BB/9. A starter for the vast majority of his career, Buster Olney says the Brewers view him as a reliever. One would guess that would be due to the extensive injury history and time away from the game.
As a reliever, he’s at least an intriguing option. As J.P. noted yesterday, there looks to be only one (maybe two) spots up for grabs in the bullpen this spring. Escobar has the big league experience (and connections to Ron Roenicke, who he was with in Anaheim) that might make him a contender for one of the last spots on the roster.