SAN FRANCISCO – Eduardo Escobar figured all along his fate would be tied to Manny Machado. As the drumbeat leading up to the trade deadline grew louder, Escobar assumed he would be dealt. He just figured he’d have to wait for Machado to move first.

“My agent told me that when Machado gets traded, then for sure you’re getting traded,” Escobar said. “I saw my name (connected) to a couple of teams. Philadelphia was one, Milwaukee was one and then Arizona. I’m so happy to be here.”

The Diamondbacks were one of the many teams going hard after Machado. But two weeks after missing out on him to the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, the Diamondbacks instead traded for Escobar.

With first place in the National League West on the line, the Diamondbacks and Dodgers will meet for four games in Los Angeles starting Thursday night. It’s the first time the teams have met since early May, and thus the first time the Diamondbacks will square off against Machado.

Machado and Escobar appear to have had fairly similar impacts on their new clubs. Both filled in for injured players. Both have played parts in helping their teams stay in contention. But neither has really announced his presence in any significant way.

While each has posted solid numbers – entering Wednesday, Machado owned an .819 OPS and seven homers, Escobar an .811 OPS and four homers – both have had sort of lukewarm results in key sports. Machado is just 3 for 17 (.176) in high-leverage situations; Escobar is 4 for 19 (.211) with men in scoring position.

The Diamondbacks had shown interest in Machado since at least last offseason, and they were rumored at multiple points to be one of the club’s most aggressively pursuing him. It appears they fell short in large part because of a lack of depth in their farm system, with the Baltimore Orioles ultimately preferring the five-player package they received from the Dodgers.

Though the Diamondbacks seemed to turn their attention toward Escobar only after missing out on Machado, General Manager Mike Hazen said it wasn’t that cut and dry.

“I would say we were engaged with Escobar at that time, too,” Hazen said. “We were still looking at both guys. The trick was, they play different positions in some cases and can do different things, so it would have meant different things to our team depending on who we would have ended up with.”

And he said those two weren’t the only infielders the club was considering, saying there were “five-ish” players who drew some level of attention. Though Hazen wouldn’t name names, it’s likely that Brian Dozier and Mike Moustakas, both of whom ended up with contenders, were under consideration.

“We were just kind of engaged in the market with multiple players and multiple teams,” Hazen said, “in terms of just trying to figure out what the price was going to be for those types of guys.”

While Escobar hasn’t made the kind of impact that, say, J.D. Martinez made last season, few ever have. Martinez, who hit 29 homers in 62 games after his mid-July trade, had one of the best post-trade performances in recent history.

Escobar’s certainly given the Diamondbacks’ steady production, performing better than the team’s previous third baseman, Jake Lamb, who was playing all season with a shoulder injury that required surgery shortly after Escobar was acquired.

“I think the versatility he gives us, where he hits it he lineup, the switch-hitting, his defensive assuredness at third base – everything has proven to be pretty valuable for us,” Hazen said. “Obviously it’s highlighted more with the news that we got after we acquired him. He’s fit into the clubhouse. The guys love him. He’s a baseball rat. All good things for us.”

The Diamondbacks have won eight of 12 games against the Dodgers so far this season. The last time they saw them, the Dodgers were four games under .500 and they soon fell to 10 games under. They have since gone 55-35 entering Wednesday.

“I know how important this series is,” Escobar said. “We’re facing them for four games, but I think the most important thing is to play hard every game because every series is important.”


Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.