The Miami Marlins have shed another bit of salary and rid themselves of a potentially useful trade asset in trading away Yunel Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays for middle infield prospect Derek Dietrich. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, this deal is indeed complete.
#Rays indeed do have a deal to get SS Yunel Escobar from #Marlins for INF prospect Derek Dietrich— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 5, 2012
Escobar leaves the Marlins after having come to the Fish in the mega-trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and others to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Fish acquired Escobar with the thought of moving him to third base, with fellow acquisition Adeiny Hechavarria manning shortstop. But as soon as the Fish picked up Escobar, it seemed the team was quite willing to trade him and his very team-friendly contract. The Marlins were hooked for only $5 million in 2013 with team options at $5 million a season for 2014 and 2015.
The attractive contract is part of what made Escobar such an interesting trade commodity, but it seems the Marlins may have sold low in the deal with the Rays. Dietrich was a C+ rated prospect heading into 2012 by John Sickels, and while his season in High-A was quite good, he struggled in a 149 PA stint in Double-A at age 23. Plate discipline seems to be a problem for him, as he struggled with strikeouts (21.9 percent strikeout rate in the minors) and walks (6.2 percent). Still, as a college product, the Marlins may have figured he would be ready sooner and may be able to fill the third base void sooner.
Fish Stripes will have more on the breakdown of this trade tomorrow morning, but it seems at the moment that the Marlins got a lesser return because they settled too early on an offer. For a player as valuable as Escobar, even with his character issues, the team probably should not have settled on this deal.