Today opened with a rumor connecting Yunel Escobar to the Cubs, and it’s ending with Escobar traded … to the Rays. Now that’s the Winter Meetings.

Per multiple reports, initially from Danny Knobler, Escobar – and his extremely Tampa Bay-friendly contract – is headed to the Rays in exchange for infield prospect Derek Dietrich, a top 10/15 prospect in the Rays’ system. It’s unclear if there is more coming to the Marlins in the deal, but, if not, it’s clear that Escobar’s down 2012 season, coupled with his off-the-field-issues, depressed his price.

As I mentioned this morning, the Rays were a better fit for Escobar than the Cubs, among other reasons, because they likely view him as a shortstop, rather than a third baseman. Being that Escobar offers better-than-average defense at short, he’s more valuable there than he would be at third (even if he were also better-than-average at third base – shortstop is simply a more valuable, and harder to fill, position). Thus, he would be more valuable to the Rays than he would be to the Cubs.

And, so it was that he was dealt to the Rays, rather than the Cubs. Given everything that comes with Escobar, I’m pretty ambivalent to the non-move. It’s fine.

  • CrAzyhorSe

    Thats a Mb in the making……. good luck Rays

  • Vince

    Who are possible third basemen who the Cubs are interested in now?

  • Marcel91

    Thats really low for him. His value worse than i thought

  • MichiganGoat

    Wow 11pm ET post, Brett is staying up past his bed time. WINTER MEETING MADNESS

    • Brett

      Seriously – this is a for reals commitment.

    • DarthHater

      Might as well go to sleep. Nothing happening.

  • Lone Ranger

    Could this start a domino effect with trades?

    • Brett

      It will definitely help clarify the shortstop market – A’s, for example, will have to move on (which could spur something with Stephen Drew, which could spur something with Asdrubal Cabrera, and so on). So, it’s possible, but I don’t think this is a move that teams were waiting on (except perhaps the Cubs … ).

  • Westbound Willie


  • Jeff

    Youk is the only other decent 3rd base option but he will command a big salary, not worth the money for an average defender

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Sadly, Youk is not an average 3B fielder anymore: he’s packed on so many injuries with his aggressive play that his range really has dropped and his arm is not great. (He probably still has the strength, but not on quick throws.) He still would probably be pretty good at first, as he was good at pulling in throws, but that’s not really part of playing 3rd.

      • Jeff

        I agree Doc, was just trying to be nice to “poor” Youk by calling him an average defender.

  • Byron Browne

    Looks like Valbuena might not have to break his lease

  • Jeff

    I for one am glad we didn’t get Escobar. I would have a difficult time rooting for a bigot. But at the same time I have a tough time not rooting for a Cub. Thus I’m glad he’s not a Cub and I don’t have to face the dilemma.

    • terencemann

      I feel the same way about Escobar. It’s tough to root for someone who seems to want to create drama around him. It was encouraging to hear that the Cubs’ clubhouse culture was strong last year in spite of all of the difficulties on the field.

      The Rays also make a lot more sense for him where he’ll play shortstop everyday instead of coming to a team where he might feel he’s better suited to play short but would be forced to play third.

  • Joe

    I like Keppinger. I think that he would be the best option and he’s asking for $4 million a year? Career .288/.337 and had a career season in 2012 (.325/.367/.439). What’s not to like for $4 million/year?

    • ssckelley

      He had a career year offensively in 2012, is he a .806 OPS hitter like he was in 2012 or closer to the .733 OPS for his career? Also are the Cubs paying for what he accomplished last year or for what he has accomplished for his career?

      I like the fact he had a nice average and got on base, what I don’t like is that he did not produce runs by either scoring them or driving them in. I would love his offensive numbers if the Cubs needed him for shortstop or second base. If the Cubs sign him I hope they still resign Stewart and make a nice lefty/righty platoon.

  • Jeff

    I think the Cubs should go snatch up Stewart right now. I think if they don’t they are going to be sorry. With his wrist healed, I think he’ll be very productive. Even if he ends up hitting only 12-15 HR with a .240/.320/.400 line, his defense makes him worth the 1.5 – 2.0 million to sign him. But I have a feeling that he is going to do much better than that.

    • Jeff

      Hey Brett,

      We have too many Jeff’s here…lol

      Any way to tell which Jeff posted first on BN, so we can alter our names Jeff1, Jeff2, Jeff3???

      • MichiganGoat

        King Jeff is the original he changed his name from Jeff for this same reason. All hail the King!

      • MichiganGoat

        Just come up with an original name and use to get an avatar attached that way you won’t be confused with all the Jeffs

        • TheCubsFanFormerlyKnownAsJeff

          Hey Goat, if this doesn’t work, I might have to go to just a symbol instead of letters.

      • OregonCubFan

        Sorry Jeff – I used to use a different monicer and forgot what it was. Accidentally put my real name up on the last couple of posts. From now on I’ll try to use OregonCubFan.
        The other Jeff

    • Joe

      I respect the fact that Stewart is a good defensive third baseman but I just don’t see him staying healthy or coming close to contributing offensively. He may hit double-digit home runs if he stays healthy, but he’s not going to be above .220. I’m just dreading the thought of a Stewart/Valbuena platoon. I’d like to see them give an older, more established, guy a chance to play 3B for a couple of season (Youk, Keppinger, even Figgins).

      • OregonCubFan

        I’m afraid we’re underestimating what a healthy Stewart might do. I fear the Casey McGhee syndrom might hit again.

  • Dougy D
    • Dougy D

      I’m sorry, I must be tired. I already skimmed the previous article and either had a total brain fart, or just can’t read.

  • hansman1982

    Ya…Escobar would have been eaten alive by the Chicago media. Good pass.

  • Brandon

    What about Alex gonzalez he could give 15_20 Homers has good glove

    • Joe

      I wouldn’t complain

  • Alex

    Yeah, I have a hard time picturing a guy who wrote a gay slur on his face getting along well in a stadium near Boys Town.

  • The Dude Abides

    Scutaro stays with Giants

  • thejackal

    i agree stewart best option for us

  • Bret Epic

    It’s looking more and more like we’re going to resort back to Stewart. If his injury was the reason for his down numbers and his surgery was a success, then I’ll be glad to have him back for 1.5-2 million a year. Worst thing that could happen is up to 2 million wasted on someone who’s a dud. Not the worst thing we’ve done as an organization. The guy has shown loads of offensive power and potential in his plate discipline and is quite the defensive 3rd basemen. I’d choose him over spending 6-8 million on someone like Reynolds.

    • Boogens

      Agreed. If it came down to Reynolds or Stewart I’d have to stick with Stewart.

  • thejackal

    i wish we could grab keppinger i always liked him other than that i dont see another viable option beside stewart . we have other pressing issues that can and should be addressed so far im on board with thoe and comp. keep up good work

  • LouCub

    There are some rumors saying that if LA beats out the Rangers for Grienke, that the Cubs might do a Matt Garza for Olt deal…anyone hear anything about this?

    • Lone Ranger

      Do you have a link for where you heard this? I thought that Garza was not being sought until spring training when he shows that he is healthy.

      • LouCub

        was discussed on mlb radio earlier today, not sure which show though,,hoping any of you guys heard tis

  • cubsin

    It looks to me like our brain trust totally mis-estimated the 3B market this Winter. Non-tendering Stewart to save a few bucks is probably going to cost them millions more than offering arbitration would have cost, and they may wind up with a multi-year commitment to an inferior 3B if his wrist is actually fully healed.

  • Lone Ranger

    Thought you guys might be interested in this:

    The Marlins’ trade of Yunel Escobar to the Rays earlier tonight was prompted by the fact that Escobar approached the club saying he was not comfortable at third base just days after telling them otherwise, writes Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post.

    Guess that would explain why the Cubs were no longer interested.

  • mysterious4th

    looks like emilio bonificio (however you spell his name) might be available from the jays? How about him to man 3B?

    • Mike

      I like your thinking. Even though he isn’t the best fielder….he’s very versatile playing both the infield and outfield, has some speed (stole 30 bases in part time play last year and 40 bases in full time play in 2011) and could blossom with full time play. He’s a switch hitter, and I looked at his splits, and, for the past 3 seasons (overall), he hits lefties and righties well, has hit well at Wrigley Field, and his numbers are off the charts, hitting wise, if he plays 3rd base. I’d love to see the Cubs get this guy.

  • cheryl

    Kaleb Kowert (sp?) was drafted by the ngels in 2010. Would he be someone the cubs might be interested in in terms of a trade of Marmol?

  • cheryl

    Should b Angels

  • Serious Cubs Fan
  • thejackal

    why isnt joe blanton bein talked bout any. i likem a good inning eater whats every 1 else think?

  • Jamess

    Heres an idea how about signing the shortstop from Japan. Then move Starlin Castro over to third base. The Cubs top prospect in the minors is a shortstop name Baez. Baez should be ready by mid 2014. Just a thought.

    • ChicagoMike702

      A big problem with that is Castro’s best defensive asset is his range (perhaps the most range of any SS in MLB) and one of his glaring weaknesses is his throwing accuracy. Plus, Castro has a nice bat for a SS but for a 3B, not so much.

      Plus, most scouts don’t think Baez can play SS at the ML level. It wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up being the 3B of the future.

      • ssckelley

        Who are these “most scouts” that do not think Baez can play SS at the ML level? Most reports I have read on him is he is pretty good defensively at the position and a move to 3rd might happen because of his offensive abilities and the fact Castro blocks him.

  • Troy

    How scary will the nationals rotation be now with the addition of Haren? I wonder if there will be a backlash with the cubs for not signing him if he does well?

    • Rcleven

      And if he only pitches 100 innings? Too much risk for 13 MM.

      • Troy

        Yes…. But we could have had him for a swap of Marmol. Maybe flip him at deadline. I’m not at all saying I wanted him… Just curious how this might affect how some fans react. I like most of the moves this FO has done so far. And they have far more info on players than any of us do. Haren has pitched more innings than any other pitcher over the past seven years and a drop in velocity is troublesome. I am fine with passing on him.

        • Stinky Pete

          Pretty sure if Haren does well, every yoyo in America with a computer will let you know that they are smarter than anyone in our front office and how they would have done the deal despite the medical concerns.

  • bails17

    Stewart is still our best option….give him a chance to come back after this last surgery all while paying him a mear 1-2 million. IF, and it’s a big if, he can muster a line say 250/320/440ish he would be a nice flibbable piece. Low risk/medium reward move here. No reason to spend the $$ on Kep.

    • kranzman54

      I do think the Cubs need to start winning some games though. I have been happy with the moves and am fine with a 90 loss season as long as we complete the construction of our system, but other people don’t seem so willing to wait. I would think they have to do some things to put a competitive product on the field and Kepp is a better option for that, granted I still want Stewart just in case he does have that line still in him somewhere.