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Mets agree with Escobar, Canha (reports)

NEW YORK – Not content to stay out of baseball’s offseason proceedings, the Mets rang twice Friday night, reaching a deal with outfielder Mark Canha and outfield player Eduardo Escobar on two-year deals. , according to sources.

Canha’s deal includes a third-year option with a guaranteed total of $ 26.5 million, according to sources, while Escobar’s is $ 20 million.

Both agreements are pending physical examinations. The team has not recognized either of the two signatures because they are not yet official.

Combined, the deals enhance New York’s roster, while offering versatility for future offseason moves.

Canha, 32, is capable of playing all three outfield positions, allowing the club to remain open to potential acquisitions of additional outfielders, such as Kris Bryant or Seiya Suzuki.

Escobar, also 32, can start at second or third base, giving the club options as it continues to seek to improve its team. And if the designated hitter returns to the National League, both players give the Mets potential coverage at that position.

Overall, the deals improve the Mets with little long-term risk. Canha offers New York additional balance with the right hand, and while he has featured reverse platoon splits in his career, he has proven adept at hitting both left and right handed.

Last year, with Oakland, Canha hit 17 home runs in 141 games, plus a .746 OPS. Canha has hit .244 in his career and has a .344 hitting percentage, and has averaged 20 home runs per year in his last three full seasons. His seven-year career with the A’s includes three postseason appearances.

Escobar, meanwhile, made his All-Star first team last summer en route to a .253 / .314 / .472 slash line with 28 home runs and 90 RBIs for the D-backs and Brewers.

In his last full season before that (2019), Escobar hit a career-high 35 home runs, while tying the Major League Baseball lead with 10 3-pointers.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have my boy Escobar with us,” tweeted Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker, who played alongside Escobar in 2019 with Arizona. “Without a doubt one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. Mets fans are going to love him!”

Overall, Escobar owns a career .256 / .309 / .436 slash line with 138 home runs in 11 seasons for four different teams. More than half of that service time came with the Twins from 2012 to 18.

Although the Mets acquired Escobar in large part for his offensive resume, they also acquired it for his competent defense at both second and third base. As the roster is currently built, the club doesn’t know who will fill either position in April, so the addition of Escobar gives them the flexibility to move in any number of directions. If they want to use Jeff McNeil on the field, for example, they can start with Escobar in second place. If they trade JD Davis, they can use Escobar in the third.

In effect, Escobar is a replacement for Jonathan Villar, who appeared in 142 games last season as the Mets’ utility infielder. The addition of the veteran also won’t stop the club from chasing Javier Báez, who would simply push Escobar to third if they manage to re-acquire him.

Regardless of what Baez does, Escobar will give New York a roughly average defense in the league at various positions, with some combination of McNeil, Davis, Robinson Canó and perhaps Baez also playing second and third.

There is still plenty to do on all fronts for the Mets, whose new general manager, Billy Eppler, recently acknowledged that pitching is his top priority. To that end, New York recently lost its bid to sign southpaw Steven Matz, but plenty of other starters remain. Hopefully the club will engage with Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray and other unsigned starters, as well as shallower pieces.

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