Yunel Escobar Rumors


Marlins Pursuing Third Basemen

2:18am: In addition to Reynolds and Hannahan, the Marlins are interested in Jeff Keppinger and Ian Stewart acccording to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

12:24am The Marlins' trade of Yunel Escobar to the Rays earlier tonight was prompted by the fact that Escobar approached the club saying he was not comfortable at third base just days after telling them otherwise, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said that Escobar's $5MM salary will be re-invested toward finding a suitable third base replacement, either via free agency or trade. Earlier today it was reported that the Marlins have interest in Mark Reynolds, and the team has also been linked to Jack Hannahan tonight, though Hannahan's salary certainly won't approach the $5MM mark. For now, the Marlins aren't close to anything, says Capozzi.

Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel notes, via Twitter, that Zack Cox will get a look in Spring Training but likely isn't ready. The Marlins acquired Cox in exchange for Edward Mujica this past July.



Rays Acquire Yunel Escobar

The Rays have acquired a new shortstop, getting Yunel Escobar from the Marlins for middle infield prospect Derek Dietrich today, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

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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 Jose Reyes-Josh Johnson-Mark Buehrle 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 Athletics, Yankees, and Cubs had also reportedly shown interest.  

The Rays had a need at the position after using Elliot Johnson, Ben Zobrist, and Sean Rodriguez there in 2012.  The Marlins prefer to use Adeiny Hechavarria as their shortstop after acquiring from Toronto in the same blockbuster deal. With the trade, Ricky Nolasco becomes the only Marlin earning more than $1.75MM in 2013.

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.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports first reported the deal was close.  Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.



A's Notes: Shortstops, Escobar, Minor Deals

The Athletics reportedly had meetings lined up in Nashville today with the representatives for Hiroyuki Nakajima and Stephen Drew, as the team's search for a shortstop continues. Here's more on that front, along with the rest of the latest A's notes:



Yunel Escobar Rumors: Tuesday

We received a flurry of Yunel Escobar rumors yesterday once it was revealed that the Marlins were shopping their recently acquired infielder. Specifically, the Athletics had ongoing discussions with the Fish surrounding the controversial shortstop. We'll keep track of today's Escobar rumors with the newest info up top...

  • The Rays are still in on Escobar, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.  The Marlins are getting closer to trading the shortstop, but the A's, Yankees, and Cardinals remain involved.

Earlier updates:

  • Despite the fact that they could use a defensive upgrade at shortstop, the Tigers aren't interested in Escobar, or at least don't view him as a fit, writes MLB.com's Jason Beck.
  • The A's, Yankees, and Rays are the most likely teams for Escobar, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.  Talks with the A's have centered around Brad Peacock or Grant Green, while talks with the other clubs involve younger minor leaguers. 
  • There's some conflicting info out there on the Yankees' interest in Escobar. Reports yesterday suggested that the Yankees had inquired, and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets that New York is "definitely in" on the shortstop. However, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Yankees aren't in the mix.
  • The other clubs that are "definitely in" on Escobar, according to Stark, are the A's, Cubs, and Rays.



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.



Marlins Shopping Escobar; Nolasco Wants Out

Tuesday, 1:42am: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets that the Cubs and Yankees have also checked in on Escobar. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle also recently confirmed that the A's are in ongoing discussions with the Marlins about Escobar.

Monday, 9:05pm: A's GM Billy Beane met with Marlins officials today, hears MLB.com's Jane Lee.  However, Lee does not know if the meeting involved Escobar.

6:23pm: The Rays are pursuing Escobar and the A's could be in play, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

5:58pm: The Marlins are "actively shopping" shortstop Yunel Escobar, tweets MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  The Marlins are in trade talks with at least two teams, tweets Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.  Escobar, acquired in last month's blockbuster trade/salary dump with the Blue Jays respresents one of the Marlins' bigger contracts at $5MM. The Marlins also acquired shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria in the trade, so Escobar has been penciled in as the team's third baseman.

The Marlins' highest-paid player, pitcher Ricky Nolasco, would prefer a trade, agent Matt Sosnick told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.  Neither Nolasco nor Sosnick has directly requested a trade, however, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  Nolasco, 30 in December, posted a 4.48 ERA, 5.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.85 HR/9, and 46.6% groundball rate in 191 innings this year.  He'll earn $11.5MM in 2013.



A's Discussing Escobar With Marlins

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A's are indeed engaged in ongoing discussions with the Marlins regarding Yunel Escobar, as was previously speculated. Slusser's piece contains plenty of A's material, so here's the latest on the reigning AL West Champs...

  • Not surprisingly the Escobar discusssions aren't believed to be centered around anyone on the Athletics' Major League roster.
  • Slusser reports that the A's have heavy competition for Brandon McCarthy, as the Diamondbacks, Cubs, Royals, Red SoxWhite Sox and Twins have already met with the right-hander, and the Angels and Rangers are expected to join the fray.
  • McCarthy would consider a one-year deal to prove that he has successfully recovered from his frightening head injury and brain surgery late in the 2012 season.
  • Hiroyuki Nakajima is more concerned with playing time than salary, according to Slusser, which could increase Oakland's appeal to the Japanese shortstop.



Passan's Latest: Myers, Fowler, Asdrubal, McCarthy

The Royals have been shopping top prospect Wil Myers but only in exchange for starting pitching, reports Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.  Earlier this week, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reported that Kansas City was known to be at least listening to offers for Myers and top position players like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.  The only untouchable Royals appear to be Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez due to their team-friendly contracts --- "executives consider [Perez's deal] the best in the game," Passan writes.

The Royals have discussed trades with the Rays, Mariners, Diamondbacks and Athletics, Passan reports.  While Myers would be of interest to any team, he is of particular value to low-payroll teams like the Rays and A's given that Gordon and Butler have large contracts and Moustakas/Hosmer are Scott Boras clients.

Here are some more items from Passan...

  • The Rockies' asking price for Dexter Fowler is "absurd," one rival executive tells Passan.  It appears to be a buyers' market for center fielders right now, though another executive warns that "it will shake out" as the offseason progresses.
  • The Indians are shopping Asdrubal Cabrera, though "not at Black Friday prices," an executive says.  Cabrera is one of a few shortstops on the trade market, along with the Astros' Jed Lowrie and the Marlins' Yunel Escobar.
  • Teams are more worried about Brandon McCarthy's history of arm injuries than with his season-ending brain surgery.  If McCarthy's medicals are clear, however, a team executive thinks the right-hander will get a multiyear contract.
  • Anibal Sanchez's demands for a six-year, $90MM contract are "crazy, and he's probably going to get it," an executive tells Passan.



Marlins Links: Beinfest, Union, Escobar, Raburn

The Marlins' controversial blockbuster deal with the Blue Jays "will be a factor" in Miami's ability to attract future free agents, club president of baseball options Larry Beinfest admitted to media members (including MLB.com's Joe Frisaro).  Though the Marlins could face "some disdain in the marketplace," Beinfest said his team has no plans to change its policy of not offering no-trade clauses.

"It is what it is. We will deal with it," Beinfest said.  "We won't know until we get into those negotiations with free agents, or we show over a sustained period of time that we operate in a certain manner. It's definitely not great for the club, and we're going to have to deal with it."

Here are some more items from south Florida...

  • MLBPA head Michael Wiener said the union will monitor the Marlins during the 2013 season to make sure that the team is complying with the collective bargaining agreement, reports Ronald Blum of the Associated Press.
  • Though the Marlins didn't officially acquire Yunel Escobar from Toronto until yesterday, they were shopping the shortstop to other teams last week, reports Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan (Twitter link).  Escobar is set to make $5MM in 2013 and the Fish hold $5MM club options on him in both 2014 and 2015, though even this team-friendly deal might be too pricey for the Marlins at this time.
  • Ryan Raburn, released today by the Tigers, is "a realistic option" for the Marlins, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.  The versatile Raburn could provide depth at several positions for Miami and has a career slash line of .256/.311/.430 over seven seasons in Detroit.



Blue Jays, Marlins Complete Blockbuster Trade

Commissioner Bud Selig has approved the blockbuster trade that the Blue Jays and Marlins agreed to last week.  The Blue Jays announced the 12-player trade, which sends Jose ReyesJosh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck, Emilio Bonifacio and cash considerations to Toronto for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis, Justin Nicolino, Anthony Desclafani and Jake Marisnick.

The deal, which calls for the Marlins to send the Blue Jays $4MM, required the approval of the commissioner's office.  The Blue Jays are taking on tens of millions in future payroll obligations, while the Marlins are moving the contracts of Reyes and Buehrle less than one full year after signing them as free agents.

Ultimately the deal "represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both clubs," Selig said in a statement approving the trade.

Reyes, 29, hit .287/.347/.433 with eleven home runs in 716 plate appearances last season.  The batting line wasn't quite as impressive as the .337/.384/.493 he put up in his contract year with New York, but it was promising to see the shortstop appear in 160 games after missing 191 games across the previous three seasons.  Despite the club's disappointing performance last season, Reyes said over the summer that he didn't have any regrets about signing with Miami.  

Buehrle's deal, like Reyes', is heavily backloaded with the hurler set to earn $11MM in 2013, $18MM in 2014, and $19MM in 2015 after making just $6MM in 2012.  The contract also includes a $4MM signing bonus that's deferred without interest.  While considering a number of offers, Buehrle was said to be prioritizing a no-trade clause, something he didn't end up receiving from the Marlins.  The veteran had a 3.74 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 31 starts for Miami last season.  

Bonifacio played just 64 games in an injury-riddled 2011 campaign.  The 27-year-old can fill a number of different roles, having experience at all three outfield positions, second base, shortstop, and third base.  Buck, 32, earned his first All-Star selection in 2010 as a member of the Blue Jays.  His offensive production regressed in the two years since, posting a .213/.308/.358 batting line for the Marlins.

While the Marlins gave up a substantial amount of talent in the trade, they won't be coming away empty handed.  Hechavarria was a highly-regarded prospect in the Blue Jays' organization and his play reportedly had Toronto executives ready to part with Escobar in the right trade.  Of course, this megadeal sends both shortstops out of town.

Escobar struggled at the plate last season, hitting .253/.300/.344 with nine homers in 608 plate appearances.  The infielder does come with a team-friendly contract, however, as he'll earn $5MM in 2013 with team options for the same amount in '14 and '15.  For his career, the 30-year-old has a .282/.353/.390 batting line in six seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays.  Mathis, 29, came to the Blue Jays last season in a trade for Brad Mills that helped ease the Angels' catching glut.  The veteran will earn $3MM across the next two seasons with a club option for 2015 worth $1.5MM.

The Marlins also picked up a quartet of quality youngsters in the trade.  Alvarez, 22, made 31 starts for the Blue Jays last season with a 4.85 ERA and 3.8 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.  Nicolino, taken in the second-round of the 2010 draft, has received high praise for his aggressive pitching and willingness to pound the strike zone.  The Florida native cruised through Single-A ball last year, posting a 2.46 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.

Marisnick, 21, was rated as the No. 67 prospect in the country and the No. 3 prospect in the Blue Jays' organization after the 2011 season by Baseball America.  The publication also considered the former third-round pick to have the best defensive skillset and arm of any outfielder in the Toronto farm system.  DeSclafani, taken in the sixth-round of the 2011 draft, posted a 3.37 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in his debut season for Single-A Lansing.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post.









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