In case you were wondering if the Oakland Athletics were done making moves this winter, the answer is no. Yunel Escobar, who was just acquired by the A’s in the John Jaso trade way back on Saturday, has been traded to the Washington Nationals.
John Heyman reported, via Twitter, that there were rumblings of an interest in Escobar by the Nationals and four minutes later tweeted that the deal had, in fact, been done. In return for Yunel Escobar, the Nationals are sending over right handed pitcher Tyler Clippard.
The trade is pending physicals from both teams.
This trade, in all honesty, doesn’t come as a huge surprise to most analysts, many of whom were already curious how Yunel Escobar and Marcus Semien were going to fit on the same team. There had been early speculation that the package deal of Escobar with Zobrist may involve a third team down the line. It’s not clear, at the moment, if that were in fact the intention from the beginning or just a matter of the Nationals being able to make an offer to the A’s that they couldn’t make to the Rays.
So, what do we have to look forward to on the field for 2015?
Well, Tyler Clippard is a two time All Star pitcher with a career 2.88 ERA and a 2.75 K/BB ratio. He’s a flyball pitcher with a fair amount of grounders who has a career 1.04 HR/9 average. His fastball, a primary pitch for him, sits in the low 90’s and his changeup, which he uses about a third of the time, is in the low 80’s.
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Although it’s not certain where he will slot in the A’s rotation, he’d be an excellent candidate for the eighth inning, which would put Ryan Cook in a more situational role or, and this is pure speculation, on the trading block with Scott Kazmir to obtain a power hitter.
By adding a right handed reliever, especially of his caliber, the Athletics have addressed a glaring weakness in their bullpen and have created quite an intimidating relief core.
This trade points to the fact that there is still work to be done to make the Athletics a powerhouse in 2015 but this move is definitely a step in the right direction. With so much new depth in the pitching rotation now, it is safe to expect another major move in the coming weeks.
If you’d like to hear some insight into how the front office works, check out today’s podcast with Melissa Lockard.