The Rays officially announced that they have traded starting middle infielders, Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar, to the West Coast Rays — the Oakland Athletics.
Additionally, the Rays formally announced the acquisition of INF Asdrubal Cabrera, who signed a one year, $7.5M contract. As we opined a week back (when news of the Cabrera deal originally broke), the acquisition only made sense if either Zobrist or Escobar were to be dealt elsewhere. Suffice it to say, no one expected Silverman to deal both Zobrist and Escobar.
According to Ken Rosenthal, who earlier retweeted Susan Slusser’s initial account of the trade, both players have been (rather at that point, were to be) moved to Oakland:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 10, 2015
You may recall, the A’s claimed Yunel Escobar on revokable trade waivers last fall, but he requested to not be traded, preferring to stay with the Rays. It should now be assumed that Asdrubal Cabrera will be Tampa Bay’s primary short-stop, while Nick Franklin and Logan Forsythe will platoon second base. I’d also imagine the deal creates space for middle infielder Tim Beckham.
In return, Tampa Bay acquired former Rays catcher John Jaso, Athletics top SS prospect Daniel Robertson, and A-ball outfielder Boog Powell. According to MLB.com, Roberston was rated number one among Athletics prospects, and Powell 11. Jaso, who is no stranger to playing DH, will more than likely platoon that position and catcher.
Third player going from Oakland to Tampa Bay in the Escobar/Zobrist deal is A-ball outfielder Boog Powell.
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) January 10, 2015
Matt Silverman released a statement on the move — more specifically, on Ben Zobrist,
An emotional and meaningful day as we bid farewell to Ben Zobrist and thank him for everything he’s meant to the Rays. Any description of his value, talent and character would understate how we feel about Ben, and we consider ourselves fortunate for all our great moments together.