“Remember me? I’m Yunel Escobar.”
That is how I imagine the conversation between Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane and the best candidate for the vacant starting shortstop job in Oakland would go.
Yunel Escobar would be a perfect fit for the Athletics in 2015, which is why believe Beane should trade for him, and no one is talking about it.
Escobar, a defensive minded shortstop who also is an offensive upgrade, was once a Beane target. Prior to the August 31, 2014 waiver-trade deadline Escobar was claimed by the A’s but they were unable to secure a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
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With many options for a limited number of middle infield positions, the Rays may be looking to rid themselves of Escobar and his modest contract, says Sports Talk Florida.
Why does Escobar make sense for Beane and the A’s? Three reasons:
Number one (and most obvious): The Athletics need a legitimate starting shortstop.
Not that Andy Parrino, Eric Sogard, and Tyler Ladendorf aren’t legitimate in their own way, but they are not the candidates a still-competitive team would like to employ for a premier position.
Number two: Escobar represents a two-way upgrade.
His 2014 was a down year across the board. But historically Escobar is an above average defensive shortstop with a career .347 On-Base Percentage and walks almost as many times as he strikes out. His home run power tops out somewhere in the low teens, but he would not need to be relied upon for offensive production and anything he does do with his bat is an added bonus.
September 4, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar (11) leaps after he throws to first to complete a double play as Los Angeles Angels second baseman Grant Green (10) is out at second in the fifth inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Number three: Billy always gets his man.
Beane has somewhat of a reputation for getting what he wants. Just not always when and how. Here is another chance. Escobar was a trade target last season, but things didn’t work out. Now, coming off a down year and while still under a reasonable contract (we’re talking A’s standards), Beane has his chance to revisit the Escobar plan.
Under contract through 2017 (with a $1MM buyout), Escobar would serve as the perfect stopgap between the current vacancy and prospect Daniel Robertson.
I am unsure what it would take to land Escobar, but for a rebuilding Rays team who has plenty of options to replace Escobar, taking of the full contract and a mid-level prospect might suffice.
Perhaps Beane could even bring Escobar’s former teammate Sean Rodriguez on board to form a platoon tandem with Sogard at second base.
A reunion with Stephen Drew is not the answer to Oakland’s shortstop troubles. Neither is Asdrubal Cabrera. Yunel Escobar is the most suitable option. Let me know your thoughts and hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment!