The Miami Marlins traded Yunel Escobar on Tuesday to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor-league infielder Derek Dietrich. The shortstop who was acquired in the recent trade with Toronto was quickly moved after discussions with several teams at the Winter Meetings. In other news, Miami has stated they plan to retain Ricky Nolasco despite the rumors that the Marlins’ ace wants to be traded.
With Adeiny Hechavarria slated to be the starting shortstop in 2013, Escobar would have been asked to man third base had he been retained. Miami will look to sign a third baseman or acquire one via trade using the $5 million saved from Escobar’s contract. The names being mentioned thus far as possible free agents for third base are Mark Reynolds and Ian Stewart. Reynolds could wind up out of the Marlins’ price range as he does have several interested bidders.
Nolasco has reportedly not directly asked the Marlins for a trade but his agent has been outspoken about his displeasure in regards to the direction of the Marlins. As he is set to earn the highest salary on the team in 2013, Miami would more than likely like to clear that payroll space. However, the difficulty in finding a team to pick up the entire tab coupled with possible sanctions by Major League Baseball for reducing payroll further may play a role in Miami’s decision. Should Nolasco remain on the team, he is set for an Opening Day start in what would be his final year in Miami. It remains a distinct possibility that Nolasco could be moved at the trading deadline even if he is retained to start the season.
The news on Giancarlo Stanton was mostly quiet on Tuesday with the exception of reports that stated a good majority of teams in MLB have contacted Miami about the right-fielder. The Marlins remain adamantly against moving Stanton and would only consider trading him for a tremendous return. That is a very unlikely scenario at this time.