Tampa Bay Rays Reportedly Acquire Yunel Escobar from Miami Marlins for Prospect

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

The Tampa Bay Rays didn't add the big bat they really need on Tuesday, but they did make an improvement at shortstop.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays have acquired Yunel Escobar from the Miami Marlins:

#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 may not make Rays fans jump for joy, but he is an upgrade for a reasonable price. Dietrich hit .279 last season between High-A and Double-A, but he's built more like a third baseman, and Evan Longoria should be in the hot corner for the foreseeable future.

Last season, the Rays played Ben Zobrist. Elliot Johnson and Sean Rodriguez at shortstop. Zobrist is the only guy who is ready to play every day out of that bunch, just not at shortstop.

That makes Escobar a solid pickup, even if he hasn't been all that productive. He hit .253 last season with nine home runs and 51 RBI as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He did hit .290 with 11 home runs in 2011, but it's not going to get much better than that.

Escobar hasn't been happy since going to Miami as part of the blockbuster deal between the Marlins and Blue Jays in November. A change of scenery should benefit him, so long as he stays motivated.

The Rays picked up a quality player here, and they didn't have to give up much to make it happen. That's the name of the game for a small-market club, and Tampa Bay has handled itself expertly in that arena in recent years.

According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Rays may not be done making moves either, so stay tuned.