Yunel Escobar extension: Rays have had 'serious' talks with SS

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays have a few shortstops in their system, but no one quite as valuable as Escobar.

The Tampa Bay Rays have had "serious extension talks" with shortstop Yunel Escobar, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin. The deal is "not close at the moment," but is still "very possible."

Escobar, 31, is under team control through the 2015 season.

He'll be 33 when his current deal expires, but if he continues to put up seasons like he did in 2013. He's had a few down years while bouncing from Atlanta to Toronto and finally, to Tampa Bay after Escobar was traded to the Miami Marlins in the blockbuster Jose Reyes trade with the Blue Jays. The Rays sent Derek Dietrich to Miami for Escobar, and he rewarded them with nearly four wins, according to FanGraphs.

He's typically been an average offensive player, as evidenced by his career 101 wRC+. However, his exceptional defense makes him an overall plus -- especially for the Rays.

Tampa Bay found a market inefficiency in Escobar, even though he came with some undesirable baggage. He fills a need at a position at which the club isn't exactly stacked. Hak-Ju Lee and former top prospect Tim Beckham could play the position, but Escobar's four-win potential is alluring enough for the Rays to consider a longer deal with him.

The team has recently started to lock up veteran players as well as their patented prospect extensions. They re-signed James Loney to a three-year deal this winter, and hung onto David DeJesus on a two-year deal as well.

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