Has Yunel Escobar Finally Found a Home with the Tampa Bay Rays?
Escobar just came to the Rays in December, via a trade with the Miami Marlins. The Marlins had just gotten him in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays the month before. The Marlins wanted Escobar to play third base, and after some soul searching, Escobar decided that was not where his heart was. The decision was not popular in Miami, but now Escobar is playing the position that has brought him some major league success.
The trail of Escobar’s success begins in his arrival from Cuba. In 2004, he and four of his friends fled Cuba for a better life here in the United States. His boat struck shore in the Florida Keys in October. Days on the sea brought some harrowing experiences that will be forever in the mind of the 21 year old.
But his story was just beginning. His new home offered endless possibilities for this Cuban National Team veteran. He was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 2005. Escobar sailed his time through the minors, and had his debut in the majors on June 7, 2007. He had made it. Escobar was at home in the major leagues.
Escobar has struggled and been inconsistent at times. His six year career hitting stats of .282 BA .353 OBP, and .390 SLG are somewhat respectable. He’s had flashes of greatness at the plate. In 2007, his batting average was .326; 2009 .299; and in 2011 .290. Escobar’s fielding percentage is .972, but he averages more than 12 errors a season.
Since shortstop is where his heart is, Escobar is right at home in Tampa. If he can play up to his potential, then Tampa wants Escobar to feel right at home.