Yunel Escobar: Newly-Acquired Marlins Shortstop Odd Player to Rebuild Around

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 13, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 29: Yunel Escobar #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays makes the play to catch Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees stealing at second during MLB action at the Rogers Centre September 29, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images

With a massive MLB deal coming through the airwaves, it's hard to figure out why the Miami Marlins would decide to rebuild around a player such as Yunel Escobar

According to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Marlins are trading starters Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, all-purpose player Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Marlins will acquire shortstops Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, major-league starter Henderson Alvarez as well as a plethora of minor-league players.

Upon first glance, this looks like a horrid trade for the Marlins as they lose much of their current star-power and open a lot of holes in their roster heading into 2013. And upon further review, it's still tough to find a silver lining.

Undoubtedly the best player the Marlins received in the deal was Escobar, a 30-year-old Cuban shortstop who has had an up-and-down career. 

But last season, Escobar was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was suspended three games by the league for displaying a homophobic slur on his eye-paint, which resulted in a backlash by many activist groups and a portion of his salary being donated to similar groups. 

After the public relations disaster that was one-year manager Ozzie Guillen and his all-too-usual controversial comments and actions, the Marlins were clearly trying to embark in some image repair prior to the first pitch of 2013.

And while Escobar's character can't be portrayed off one slanderous saying on eye-black, you'd have to think they could've gone in a different direction and found a more likable guy to build the franchise around.

No more than two years ago, the arrival of Jose Reyes in Miami was viewed as a major franchise cornerstone. Reyes may not have had great production in Miami, but now he's been replaced by a player who is one year older and not much better, if at all. 

To add insult to injury, losing pitchers like Buehrle and Johnson will make it even harder next season to find decent pitching.

It's obvious that the Marlins are throwing in the towel on the 2013 and 2014 seasons with this move, so it's unclear why they would bring in a potential pain in the locker room that could be past his prime if they're going to be so incompetent for the next few seasons.

Additionally, the next-best player Miami received in the deal was Hechavarria, who is a fellow shortstop. If the Marlins want to make him useful as anything more than a backup, they'll need to integrate him to a new position, which could end up being more of a headache than it's worth.

Perhaps the relationships that new manager Mike Redmond has with the minor-league players acquired in the deal played a role in the fire sale, as he spent the last few seasons managing a minor-league Blue Jays affiliate.

But he and the organization could've done much more on the top end of this deal, and will pay for it in the near future. 


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