You heard my response to the trade of Yunel Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league infielder Derek Dietrich. The Marlins had their hands somewhat tied since Escobar was not as willing to move to third base as initially expected, but the Fish also sold a little low on him by rushing the trade during the winter meetings. Now it is time to hear my fellow Fish Stripes authors and what they have to say on the subject of the Escobar trade.
Sam Evans (Prospect and Draft Coverage)
The Marlins probably traded for Yunel Escobar only so they could trade him in a move like this. Derek Dietrich does not have the talent to be an above-average major leaguer, but he does have some power hitting from the left side of the plate. Dietrich probably is not a shortstop long-term, but with the way the Marlins infield has been shaping up, crazier things have happened. The good thing about this trade is that it cannot go very badly for the Marlins. Escobar is not a talented player, and he does not have the consistency to make the Marlins regret trading him. Both teams were very aware of the value of what they were trading and acquiring. This should shape up to be a minor move for both teams.
Conor Dorney (Analysis and Prospect and Draft Coverage)
At this point, it's becoming impossible to predict what the Miami Marlins will do next. With all the moves that have been made since the end of the season, it feels like the Marlins are playing a video game where they keep hitting "ACCEPT" to every trade from the CPU that pops up on their screen. Sure, moving Yunel Escobar wasn't a shocking deal by any means, but all it seems to do at this point is leave more questions than answers. Derek Dietrich is a pretty decent middle infield prospect with some pop in his bat. He could certainly provide some value down the road and organizational depth, and the Rays were high on him, but is that the kind of player that's worth acquiring for someone like Escobar, whose presence will make an immediate impact next season? And if the rumors of Miami getting better offers from teams like the A's (offering Brad Peacock or Grant Green) were true, this trade certainly doesn't all that good.
Escobar had a down year on the field (and on his eyeblack) for the Blue Jays last season, but let's not forget that he's been a four-win player in terms of fWAR twice during his career. If his numbers returned to near his career norms, there's no reason to believe he couldn't approach that kind of value next season as well. Additionally, with Escobar likely moving to second with the addition of Hechavarria (who I profiled last month), it would have given the Marlins a fairly solid middle infield, especially when it comes to defense. Now, depth could become the biggest problem. If Hech were to go down with an injury or struggle to produce, the club won't have the flexibility to move someone with experience at the position like Escobar to fill the void. Overall, there are so many confusing pieces to this mess of a puzzle the Marlins have put together this winter. Maybe they'll just have Donovan Solano fill every spot on the infield. Better yet, clone Donovan Solano. ONE THOUSAND DONOVAN SOLANOS ROAMING THE INFIELD. That should do the trick.
Scott G. (Fish Bites)
Yunel Escobar never stood a chance with the Marlins. Even before the Winter Meetings, the Marlins were reportedly shopping the shortstop who was asked to play third base. Escobar had a down year in 2012, and could bounce back next season.
The Tampa Bay Rays are known for their minor league depth and talent, so what Miami got in return is probably maximum value. Escobar recently told the organization that he didn't want to play third base, and not wanting to make the same mistake twice, the Marlins wisely moved him.