UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rays are pursuing Escobar and that the A’s could also be in play.
7:20 PM: The Marlins acquired Yunel Escobar last month as part of the 12-player blockbuster with the Blue Jays, but he was never expected to be long for Miami, as he’s owed $5 million next season while Adeiny Hechavarria is expected to be used as the everyday shortstop. So it’s no surprise that he’s being shopped aggressively at the Winter Meetings.
In this blog post, Frisaro notes that the A’s appear to be one of the teams in talks with the Marlins for Escobar.
Escobar is currently the second-highest paid player on the Marlins behind Ricky Nolasco, who is also considered a trade candidate. The 30-year-old batted .253/.300/.344 with nine home runs, 51 RBI and a .644 OPS in 145 games with the Blue Jays this season and was suspended five games in September for displaying a homophobic message on his eye black. His contract includes $5 million club options for 2014 and 2015.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become a free agent after the 2018 season and there has been no suggestion that the O’s and their young star have worked on a contract extension, strongly suggesting that Machado will test the open market next offseason.
While the Orioles have not said much about keeping him or trading him, yesterday considerable chatter filtered out here at the Winter Meetings suggests that they are serious about trading him now in order to get more than a draft pick in return when he eventually leaves Baltimore.
Jon Heyman reported yesterday that the Cardinals were a possible landing spot, and others have speculated that, at the moment, they’re the frontrunners for his services. Buster Olney, in a development that would make people go insane, I suspect, that the Yankees have expressed interest. It seems highly unlikely, though, that the Orioles would trade Machado within the division. Even if they did, they’d likely expect a premium from the Yankees that they would be unwilling to pay, especially given that they could easily wait Machado out until he was a free agent next year and give up nothing but cash for him. A couple of days ago we noted that the Phillies had expressed interest and the Orioles were doing their due diligence with respect to their farm system.
As far as the possible parameters of a deal, Ken Rosenthal reported that the O’s hope to acquire at least two controllable young starters in return. That’s a high price for a one-year Machado rental, but it makes sense for the Orioles to ask it. For Machado’s part, he reportedly wants to return to his original position, shortstop. He does not have no-trade protection, of course, so that may be a wish that is not fulfilled.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior, however, he posted OPSs of .876 and .861, and he’s still just 25. All of which is to say that the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.