Cubs Sign Venezuelan Reliever Edwin Escobar, Lefty Pitched Last Seven Seasons in NPB

Edwin Escobar of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on September 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Dodgers won 6 – 2. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The Chicago Cubs signed left-handed pitcher Edwin Escobar for the 2024 season.

The organization has not stated whether the deal is a minor league or major league contract. 

Escobar, 32, was born in La Boyera, Venezuela, and has played the last seven seasons in Japan in Nippon Professional Baseball, joining with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in 2017 before being traded in the middle of the 2017 season to the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, where he’s been both a starter and a relief pitcher through the end of the 2023 season. 

Last season, Escobar spent time between the BayStars and their minor league team. Escobar was 2-1 with the NPB club and posted a 4.55 ERA in 40 appearances throwing 31.2 innings allowing 28 hits, 16 earned runs, six home runs, 16 walks, 30 strikeouts, and a 1.389 WHIP, helping the organization reach the 2023 Central League Climax Series.  

With the BayStars minor league team, Escobar posted a 2-1 record with a 2.13 ERA in 13 appearances with one save, throwing 12.2 innings, allowing eight hits, three earned runs, two walks, and eight strikeouts. 

In his seven seasons in NPB, Escobar has posted a 22-23 record in 395 appearances, with five saves and a 3.17 ERA over 392.1 innings. He’s allowed 325 hits, 138 earned runs, 37 home runs, 143 walks, notched 383 strikeouts, and posted a 1.193 WHIP. 

Escobar is playing in the 2023-24 Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional regular season with the Cardenales de Lara, his sixth season with the organization. He has appeared in five games out of the bullpen, making one save, throwing seven innings, allowing three hits, four walks, eight strikeouts, and a 1.000 WHIP. 

He began his career with the Texas Rangers after signing as an international free agent in 2008. Escobar has also played with the San Francisco Giants organization from 2010-14, the Boston Red Sox from 2014-16, and the Arizona Diamondbacks who claimed him off waivers on April 29, 2016.  

Escobar has not played in Major League Baseball since the 2016 regular season with the Diamondbacks, when he went 1-2 with a 7.23 ERA with 25 appearances and two starts, throwing 23.2 innings and allowing 33 hits, 19 earned runs, four home runs, 12 walks, and 17 strikeouts with a 1.901 WHIP. 

During his two seasons in MLB, Escobar has a 1-2 record with a 7.01 ERA in 27 appearances and two starts, throwing 25.2 innings and allowing 34 hits, 20 earned runs, four home runs, 12 walks, 19 strikeouts, and a 1.792 WHIP.

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