The Oakland A’s recently acquired shortstop, Yunel Escobar, has been traded to the Washington Nationals. First reported by Jon Heyman, the 32-year-old Escobar now joins the Nats and will play into an interesting middle infield conversation:
Yunel has indeed been traded to nats.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 15, 2015
William Ladson—who covers the Nats for MLB.com—reported that Tyler Clippard is involved in the deal and would go to the A’s in return for the aformentioned Escobar:
— William Ladson (@washingnats) January 15, 2015
As for Escobar—who has now been traded for the second time in his career from a team in which he never got the chance to play an inning for—will now enter into an interesting middle infield situation for the Washington Nationals truly contingent on where they see Ryan Zimmerman. While Zimmerman has mostly been a career third baseman, but the Nats are interested in moving him to first base to replace the recently departed Adam LaRoche. Should he be moved to first base, Anthony Rendon would likely be moved to third, and the recently acquired Escobar would easily fit into second base—as the 32-year-old has the ability to play second—and Ian Desmond would remain as the Nationals shortstop.
However, if the Nats decide the 30-year-old Zimmerman should remain their third baseman, then they have a different type of choice. As they have Tyler Moore that can play first base, and Rendon would likely go to second base and it would only make sense that the Nationals make a choice between Desmond and Escobar. And since Washington just acquired Escobar, it may be more likely that they trade Desmond—who is a 2016 free agent. Another possibility is if the Nationals were to use Escobar at 2B and Desmond at SS—keeping both—they would then have the ability to already obtain Desmond’s replacement once he hits free agency after this 2015 season, as Escobar doesn’t reach free agency until 2016 and has a 2017 club option worth $7 million.
As for the Clippard, he now enters into a strong Athletic bullpen that now only gets stronger. Clippard now joins Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook and Dan Otero in the back-end of the A’s bullpen that can be described now as lockdown. The soon-to-be 30-year-old will be a free agent following this season.
With Zobrist and Clippard, the A’s will have top talent to yield prospects come mid-season if they are out of contention.