The Athletics have claimed shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Rays on revocable waivers*, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.


That means the two teams will have until Tuesday afternoon to agree upon a trade — if they’re going to make one. Tampa Bay could also send Escobar — and his entire salary — to the Athletics in exchange for no compensation. The news provides intriguing possibilities for the Rays if they choose to do business with Oakland.

As was written elsewhere,

Oakland recently lost starting shortstop Jed Lowrie to a fractured finger, and are apparently interested in Escobar as a solution at shortstop for the stretch run. Escobar is hitting .249/.313/.316 in 111 games for the Rays this season, and the Rays would likely be willing to move him due to their recent addition of Nick Franklin, who they received from the Mariners in the David Price trade.

Escobar signed a contract extension in early April that will pay him a guaranteed $13 million over the next two seasons, which seems like a fair price for a 31-year old who is a consistently good defender at the major league level. The A’s would not have claimed him if they were unwilling to pay that salary, and could keep him for the next two seasons once Lowrie leaves as a free agent after the season.

The question begs, what happens if the Rays do send Escobar to the A’s — what now? There are a few options worth delving into.

In the short term, this could give Zobrist an opportunity to spend some time at short. While Escobar sat on the DL this season, Maddon went with a Zobrist/Logan Forsythe middle infield to great effect — Tampa Bay excelled both offensively and defensively. Forsythe’s production increased with the consistent plate appearances. It would also clear up space for the recently acquired Nick Franklin. Moreover, a move of Zobrist back to the infield allows room for Wil Myers and David DeJesus to work back into the picture this season.

Looking ahead to next season, moving Escobar to the Athletics opens the possibility of a platoon type of situation between Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, Nick Franklin, and Logan Forsythe. Per Fangraphs, Franklin logged 68-2/3 errorless innings with the Mariners between 2013 and 2014. Since he has better production numbers against right handed pitching, his bat would pair well with Logan Forsythe. Daniel Russell of DRaysBay made an excellent point to that end,

Against right handed hitters, Zobrist and Franklin could share second and short respectively, then against southpaws, Forsythe could play his natural second and Zobrist could spot at short.

Though Zobrist has done well at short, he probably wouldn’t be the best long-term solution. After all, if the Rays were to pick up his option for the 2015 season — and I’d imagine this move could be a tacit message that they will pick up Zobrist’s 2015 option — his final year under contact will be next season. Additionally, he’ll be 34 years old next year. While there hasn’t been any evidence to suggest that his range may be dwindling, short stop is a very demanding position and the Rays may opt for a younger fielder to plunk in on the left side. Could this be an opportunity for Tim Beckham or Hak-Ju Lee? Might Cole Figueroa be the heir apparent? Whatever the case, the Rays have a plethora of adequate in house options. Escobar has shown what many have called his true colors this season, and I’d have to say a move of this caliber would not be damning for the Rays this season, next season, or in 2015.

Another intriguing question, who would the Rays seek in return or would they just be satisfied to have someone pay the remaining balance of Yuni’s contract? Might they make a play for Stephen Vogt? They have been looking for catching depth, and Vogt’s bat has finally come to life. There is only one certain at the moment, we’ll know more by Tuesday at 1:00 PM

*Confused as to how revocable waivers work? Here’s a primer.

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