From CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler comes word that the Rays and Marlins are close to a trade that will send shortstop Yunel Escobar to Tampa Bay in exchange for infield prospect Derek Dietrich.
Escobar was acquired by the Marlins as part of last month’s blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, but Miami never really planned on opening the season with him on their active roster. The 30-year-old native of Cuba even told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he did not feel wanted.
Escobar batted just .253/.300/.344 in 145 games this past season for Toronto, but he was much better in 2011 and had a fantastic 2009 season with the Braves. If the Rays can get him to focus, it could work out.
Dietrich, a former second-round draft selection out of Georgia Tech, hit .279/.338/.457 with 14 home runs and 75 RBI in 132 games this summer between High-A Charlottle and Double-A Montgomery. He’s 23 years old.
UPDATE, 11:04 PM: Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the trade has been completed.
Veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon was released from his minor league deal with the Rangers on Saturday, MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reports. Despite his strong showing in spring training, Colon wasn’t considered a lock to make the Opening Day rotation. This may not be the end of his time with the team, however — according to multiple reports, the Rangers have expressed their desire to restructure a minor league deal with the right-hander and could work out an arrangement to keep him on as bullpen and Triple-A depth this season.
Colon, 44, is preparing for his 21st year in the majors. He split his 2017 campaign with the Braves and Twins, posting a cumulative 7-14 record in 28 starts and finishing the season with a 6.48 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 5.6 SO/9 in 143 innings. While those numbers were some of the worst he’d seen since 2009, the veteran righty made a compelling case in camp this spring, holding batters to six earned runs, four home runs, two walks and 10 strikeouts in 18 innings.
The Rangers are expected to open the season with a rotation comprised of Cole Hamels, Doug Fister, Matt Moore, Mike Minor and Martin Perez. Perez is working his way back from an elbow injury in his non-throwing arm and is slated to miss his first start of the season, which would provide a brief window of opportunity for Colon when the Rangers hit the road in April.