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MLB Miami MarlinsTampa Bay Rays

Winter Meetings 2012: Miami Marlins Trade Yunel Escobar To Tampa Bay Rays

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins and the Tampa Bay Rays are close to a trade that would send Marlins’ infielder Yunel Escobar to the Rays for prospect infield Derek Dietrich. The Marlins have been shopping Escobar since the MLB Winter Meetings began Monday and finally found a suitor for him after acquiring him from the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Marlins were originally going to use Escobar as a third baseman being that they are projected to start Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop.

Miami acquires an infielder that is rated No. 13 in the Rays’ system by Baseball America and No. 17 by Baseball Prospectus and can play both shortstop and second base. The 23-year-old spent his 2012 in Double-A Montgomery and Single-A Charlotte. He hit 14 home runs and recorded 75 RBI combined with both teams while batting .279/.338/.457. He is expected to be either a second baseman or a third baseman in the long run.

Escobar has $5 million remaining on his deal along with two $5 million club options for the next two seasons. The Rays value Escobar at shortstop after spending 2012 without a legitimate starting shortstop. Last season, the team used an array of players like Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson to fill the position.

Escobar comes to Tampa Bay with character issues, something that he displayed at the end of the 2012 season when he wrote a homophobic slur on hie eye black in Spanish. Aside from that he had a career-low in batting average while managing to score just 58 runs.

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