It seems the Miami Marlins are either uninterested or unimpressed with Yunel Escobar as the team's short-term solution at third base. There have been rumors since the mega-trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that the Marlins would trade Escobar, and it seems that is exactly what the team is considering during the first day of the winter meetings. This according to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
#marlins are actively shopping Yunel Escobar— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) December 3, 2012
While I do not believe this is a good idea, you can understand why the Marlins would at least entertain this option. If a team evaluates Escobar from an upside standpoint, they could see a potentially very good player making very little through his remaining three years of team control, only one of which is guaranteed. This holds significant trade value if the acquiring team is evaluating Escobar as a player on the rebound from a down season rather than a faltering product.
There is also the positional value that Escobar holds for other teams that he does not hold for the Marlins. The Fish are playing Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop and moving Escobar to third base, but for other teams, they would be acquiring him as at least a league-average defender at shortstop. To the Marlins, he has unknown or questionable defensive value, but most talent evaluators likely think of Escobar as a better defender at a more difficult and harder-to-fill position. In that respect, he is worth less to the Fish than he would be to other teams.
Still, the Marlins would not necessarily be trading him with this in mind rather than simply dealing him because he is making $5 million next season. Even though he has only one guaranteed year left and the Marlins are now down to a payroll of less than $40 million, the team may still look to cut costs, and at this level, we know the Marlins can make money from revenue sharing and central fund cash. There cannot be a question of crying poor at this payroll level, with or without Escobar on board.
Friend of Fish Stripes Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel tweets that at least two teams are interested.
#Marlins in trade talks with at least two teams involving Yunel Escobar.— Juan C. Rodriguez (@JCRMarlinsbeat) December 3, 2012
If the Marlins do make a trade, one has to hope the team is not selling low on a very talented player who has had two bad seasons between multiple very good years. It was only two seasons ago that Escobar had a four-win campaign for the Blue Jays. As a Marlins fan, while you may not like the idea of moving more salary from an already bargain-bin team, the more concerning problem about this potential trade is the Marlins selling too low coming off of a down year and not getting the best value for Escobar.
EDIT: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the Tampa Bay Rays are pursuing Escobar and that the Oakland Athletics are also in the mix.