Andrew Friedman and the Rays stayed active during Day 2 of the Winter Meeting meetings Tuesday, and it looks as if the biggest news is next to come these next two days in Nashville.
Tampa Bay made their first trade of the meetings yesterday when they swapped 23-year-old prospect infielder Derek Dietrich for veteran shortstop Yunel Escobar.
Escobar, who was just recently acquired by Miami last month in the Marlins-Jays blockbuster, had a career-worst season this year with Toronto batting .253/.300/.344 with 51 RBI and 75 wRC+. Two seasons ago, however, Escobar enjoyed an outstanding year posting a .348 wOBA and a 117 wRC+.
Defensively speaking, he’s pretty solid as well. He posted a DRS of 15 and a UZR of 4.6 this season in what was statistically the best year of his career fielding-wise.
Looking at Escobar’s contract, the Rays are definitely paying a very fair price considering a shortstop at his caliber’s value to the team. He’ll make $5 million in 2013, and holds two club options (also worth $5 million) for the ’14 and ’15 seasons.
As Day 3 of the Winter Meetings now kick into full gear, the Rays made the headlines once again to start the rumors for the day. According to Ken Rosenthal, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Arizona and Texas are discussing a potential blockbuster trade that could include James Shields, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Upton, Trevor Bauer and Rangers prospects in the mix.
The Rays have reportedly discussed sending Shields to the Rangers. If the Rays could acquire a hitter like Justin Upton or Asdrubal Cabrera—who would both make perfect fits—I believe it would be absolutely worth giving up Shields.
It will be interesting to see if these talks gain any momentum throughout the course of the next two days.
Other Rays News and Notes:
- The Rays avoided arbitration with INF Sean Rodriguez by signing him to a $1 million deal on Tuesday.
- The Boston Red Sox signed Shane Victorino yesterday (3 years, $39 millions) to play right field, a day after snagging C/1B Mike Napoli (also 3 years, $39 million).
- It looks like the Rays won’t be able to re-sign utility infielder Jeff Keppinger, as Rosenthal reports that he’ll be looking for a multi-year contract that will pay him $4+ million annually. Unfortunately, it looks as if the Yankees are the front-runners for him at the moment.
- The Rays could be a possible suitor for free agent 1B/DH Mark Reynolds (per Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com). The veteran slugger would make a great platoon at first base with left-handed hitting James Loney.
- The Rays added Jamie Nelson to their staff as an additional hitting coach.