Rays Close To Deal For Yunel Escobar

The Rays are close to a deal with the Marlins for shortstop Yunel Escobar, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  Knobler says middle infield prospect Derek Dietrich will go to Miami.

Escobar, a 30-year-old Cuban, hit .253/.300/.344 in 608 plate appearances for the Blue Jays this year.  In September, he was suspended for three games by the Blue Jays after displaying an "unacceptable message" on his eye black.  He was shipped to the Marlins as part of the November blockbuster, and the Rays appear to be buying low as they often do.  Escobar is owed $5MM in 2013 and has $5MM club options for each of the following seasons, on a deal signed in June of 2011.  His ability to play an acceptable shortstop generally makes him worth a couple of wins.  The Rays had a need at the position, and the Marlins prefer to use Adeiny Hechavarria, acquired from Toronto in the same blockbuster deal.

Dietrich, 23, hit .279/.338/.457 in 563 plate appearances across High-A and Double-A this year, playing shortstop and second base.  The Rays drafted him in the second round in 2010.  Baseball America sees him as a second or third baseman long-term, and given above-average power, suggested prior to the season he had a chance at becoming an above-average big league regular.

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