Marlins Trade Yunel Escobar to Tampa Bay


The Miami Marlins just keep trading away major league talent. Of course, this is one everyone saw coming.

Late Tuesday night the Marlins agreed to trade shortstop Yunel Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays. Miami will get minor league infielder Derek Dietrich in return.

Image: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Escobar, who came to Miami in the blockbuster trade with Toronto last month, was probably never going to see the field as Marlin. Labeled a malcontent (or clubhouse cancer, or, at the very least, immature), Escobar has worn out his welcome both in Atlanta and Toronto, but is an elite talent both at the plate and in the field.

The Rays are taking a gamble that their strong clubhouse, lead by manager Joe Maddon, can keep Escobar in line. If so, Tampa could have a very strong middle infield with Ben Zobrist playing second. In 2012 however, Escobar struggled mightily at the plate, posting an OBP of just .300, a number 53 points below his career average. In 2011 Escobar put up a strong offensive performance with a .369 OBP and a .789 OPS.

Escobar fits well into the modest Tampa Bay budget as well, as he’s owed just $5 million in 2013 and there is a club option for the same amount for 2014 as well. With the trade, Miami will have just one player, pitcher Ricky Nolasco, earning more than $1.75 million next season.

On the plus side for Miami, Dietrich appears to have real talent and projects as a potential above average major league infielder at some point. The left handed hitting second baseman slugged 22 home runs in Low-A ball in 2011 and was Tampa Bay’s second round pick in 2010. He’s a year or so away in most organizations, but the way the Miami roster is shaping up, Dietrich might have a real shot at breaking camp with the big club.