UPDATE: The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired Yunel Escobar from the Marlins for young infielder Derek Dietrich, confirms Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:
#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
Original Post: The Rays are close to trading for Marlins shortstop Yunel Escobar, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
The Rays would give back shortstop prospect Derek Dietrich as compensation. Dietrich was a second round pick of the Rays in 2010. The Rays had been rumored to be interested in Escobar all day, so this move comes as no surprise.
Escobar, 30, hit .253/.300/.344 for Toronto in 2012, popping 9 home runs. He seems like the exact kind of buy-low candidate the Rays typically target. Factor in the fact that his contract is for $5 million next year with team options for $5 million each in 2014 and 2015, and it makes sense why Tampa was so keen on acquiring the shortstop.
Dietrich, 23, played last season for Double-A Montgomery of the Southern League, and hit .271/.324/.429 while hitting 4 home runs. He played all 34 games at second base because of shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee, showing how much the Rays value the two prospects.
Escobar, recently acquired in the Marlins' blockbuster deal with Toronto, had expressed a desire to be traded from the Marlins. The Marlins had planned to play him at third base, and going to Tampa means he will be able to play his natural position of shortstop.