D.J. Short

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Report: Nationals expected to shop Yunel Escobar at Winter Meetings

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Yunel Escobar is coming off an excellent first season in Washington, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Nationals are expected to shop him during next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

The Nationals are planning to shift Anthony Rendon back to his natural position at third base next season, so it makes sense that they are weighing their options. If Escobar is dealt, the club could use Danny Espinosa at second base while giving top prospect Trea Turner an opportunity at shortstop. Alternatively, they could use some of the cost savings from dealing Escobar to invest in Ben Zobrist to play second base and have Espinosa in a utility role.

The Nationals’ lineup is very righty-heavy, so bringing in the switch-hitting Zobrist makes sense on multiple fronts. It’s going to cost them, though, as he’s said to be asking for a four-year deal in the range of $60 million.

While many of his teammates underachieved this past season, the 33-year-old Escobar batted .314 with nine home runs and a .790 OPS over 139 games. He’s owed a very reasonable $7 million in 2016, with a $7 million club option for 2017 or a $1 million buyout.