Update: Rays beat writer Marc Topkin tweeted that the Rays have acquired former Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar late last night. Topkin also confirmed what we speculated, “With Escobar as the every day SS, the Rays will restore Zobrist to the multi-position role, playing OF, 2B and some SS.” We’ll have more on this acquisition later. -Schmitty
According to Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, Tampa Bay is close to a deal with the Marlins recently acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar. In return, the Rays are exoected to send middle infield prospect, Derek Dietrich, to Miami.
The 30 year-old shortstop hit .253 BA/.300 OBP/.344 SLG/.644 OPS in 608 plate appearances for the Blue Jays 2012. His season wasn’t without controversy. Escobar was suspended for three games in September after displaying an “unacceptable message” on his eye black. He was subsequently shipped to the Marlins as part of the November blockbuster trade.
Sure there are some lingering questions about Escobar’s, ahem…maturity, especially following the eye black incident and the suspension that followed. However, this could be a good move for the Rays. With Escobar as the primary shortstop, Tampa Bay has more flexibility with a player like Ben Zobrist. This could, effectively, solve the outfield conundrum, with Zo platooning at second base and right field, Desmond Jennings shifting to center, and Matt Joyce shifting to left field, platooning the position with Sam Fuld. And the Rays, presumably, wouldn’t have to give up any starters to get him. Win/win?