Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Rays Acquire Yunel Escobar

MLBTR, via Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (or is it the other way around?  Knobler says it, but I'm reading it on MLBTR), is reporting that the Rays have taken their exploitation of market inneficiencies to a new level, acquiring the bigotry of Yunel Escobar, in exchange for Derek Deitrich, a halfway decent infield prospect.  The deal isn't official yet, but it appears as though it's going down.

Escobar, of course, was run out of town after his eye black incident included in the trade that brought over Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and whomever else we pretend to care about, since there wasn't going to be any playing time for him anyway.

Naturally, with the payroll purge that the Marlins were going through, Escobar was never really going to make it too far with the Marlins, and, as result, has been jettisoned for a prospect to assist with the rebuild.

Escobar hit .253/.300/.344 in 608 plate appearances this past year, and .272/.335/.373 overall in about 2 and a half seasons in Toronto, giving about 7 WAR, and earning himself a 2 year, $10MM extension, complete with 2 club options worth $5MM a piece.  His defense is quite good, ranking as a plus defender at shortstop, so the Rays will probably get their money's worth, given the low replacement level of shortstop these days and Escobar's relatively good track record of durability, save for the odd bean-ball-induced wrist injury, which isn't exactly his fault.  Beyond that, this will allow the Rays to shift Ben Zobrist back to second base, and who knows, maybe Joe Maddon will use Escobar as a bottom-of-the-order bat the way John Farrell probably should have (or more accurately, might have, if he had any better options).

Escobar just turned 30, which is the beginning of the decline phase.  He responded, in his age-29 year, with a drop in OBP, walk-rate, batting average, slugging, and isolated power.  I'm sure the real Escobar is better than what we saw in 2012, and is probably worse than the one we saw in 2011, but there's no reason why he can't be an above-average contributor in Tampa, assuming he can avoid getting suspended or avoid doing something ridiculous again.

As for Deitrich, Tommy Rancel knows more about him than I do.

Andrew Friedman is such a boss.

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