UPDATE: Athletics acquire Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from Rays

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UPDATE: The deal is official. The Athletics will inherit the salaries for Zobrist and Escobar and will also send cash considerations to the Rays, presumably to help pay for Jaso’s 2015 salary.

1:24 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rays will receive catcher John Jaso and prospect shortstop Daniel Robertson in the deal. Meanwhile, Keith Law of ESPN hears that prospect outfielder Boog Powell (no, not that Boog) will also be sent to Tampa Bay.

A supplemental first-round pick from 2012, Robertson is considered Oakland’s top prospect. The 20-year-old batted .310/.402/.471 with 15 homers and 60 RBI last season with High-A Stockton. Powell, who turns 22 next week, owns a .317/.412/.384 batting line with three home runs, 35 stolen bases and more walks (102) than strikeouts (96) over his first 177 games in pro ball. Jaso, who spent the first three seasons of his career with Tampa Bay, batted .264/.337/.430 with nine home runs and 40 RBI over 99 games last season before going down with post-concussion issues. The 31-year-old is expected to mostly DH with the Rays, which means that Rene Rivera will be the primary catcher.

1:08 p.m. ET: Billy Beane’s fascinating offseason continues, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are on the verge of acquiring Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Rays.

No word yet on who the Rays will get in return for Zobrist and Escobar, but Slusser hears that it is likely to be one player off the major league roster and a top prospect or two.

After shedding the likes of Josh Donaldson, Jeff Samardzija, Brandon Moss, and Derek Norris this offseason, it appeared that the Athletics were going into rebuilding mode. However, Beane clearly saw it as a reshuffle more than anything else. Escobar gives the A’s another option for shortstop along with Marcus Semien while Zobrist is tailor-made for Oakland and can slot in just about anywhere. As for the Rays, they continue to strip things down. Moving Zobrist and Escobar clears the way for Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Franklin to be regulars in Tampa Bay’s middle infield, though Logan Forsythe and Hak-Ju Lee could also be in the mix.

Zobrist turns 34 in May and batted .272/.354/.395 with 10 home runs, 52 RBI, and 10 stolen bases over 146 games last season. He’s due to make $7.5 million in 2015 before hitting free agency and could be a trade chip for Oakland if they fall out of the race. Escobar, 32, took a step back defensively last year while batting .258/.324/.340 with seven home runs and 39 RBI over 137 games. He’s owed $5 million in 2015 and $7 million in 2016 while his contract includes a $7 million club option or $1 million buyout for 2017.

MLB COVID-19 testing results announced for first week of Summer Camp

MLB COVID-19 testing
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MLB COVID-19 testing results were just jointly released by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. The results given are through close of business yesterday.

The MLB COVID-19 testing results are broken down by both”Intake Screening,” which was the threshold testing required before players and staff were allowed to enter camp. Then the “Monitoring Testing” which is the every-other-day testing being conducted from now until the end of the season.

Here’s how it breaks down:

COMPLETED INTAKE SCREENING

  • The number of positive intake tests was 66, which was 1.8% of the 3,748 total samples tested;
  • 58 of these 66 positives were players and 8 were staff members;
  • 27 different clubs had at least one positive test;

MONITORING TESTING

  • The number of monitoring samples collected and tested has been 7,401;
  • 17 of these 7,401 samples, which is 0.2%, have been new positives;
  • 13 of the 17 positives have been players and 4 have been staff members;
  • 10 different Clubs have had a new positive during Monitoring Testing.

COMBINED INTAKE AND MONITORING TESTING

Combining the totals of Intake Screening and Monitoring Testing, the results are as follows:

  • The total number of positive tests between both testing phases is 83, which is 0.7% of the 11,149 samples since the beginning of Intake Screening on June 27th;
  • Among the 83 positives, 71 have been players and 12 have been staff members;
  • 28 different Clubs have had positive tests overall.

Left unclear from the MLB COVID-19 testing press release is whether MLB is up-to-schedule in its monitoring testing (i.e. if they are turning around the tests in 24 hours is required by MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan or if, as we saw earlier in the week, there has been lag.

It’s also not clear if this sort of update will come every week or if this was a one-time thing. Guess we’ll see soon.