The turnover in Oakland has been unbelievable this offseason, and it extends to guy who have only barely been on the roster.
The A’s have sent infielder Yunel Escobar – acquired from the Rays this past weekend – to the Nationals for reliever Tyler Clippard. Interestingly, then, the A’s going over-the-top to land Ben Zobrist (and Escobar) from the Rays wound up netting them a really nice reliever from one of the very teams they beat out for Zobrist.
Clippard, 30 next month, is a stud, and will make something close to $9 million in 2015, his final arbitration year. He’s gotta be loving that he’ll pitch in the spacious O.co Coliseum in his walk year. After he dominates, he’ll make for a very interesting qualifying offer decision, given that the A’s can’t really afford to have a $16 million reliever on the roster.
Sans Escobar, the A’s will presumably go with Zobrist at second, Marcus Semien at short, and Brett Lawrie at third base. Having added a fair bit of salary between Zobrist and Clippard (relatively speaking), you wonder if they’ll try even harder to dump someone like Coco Crisp (but, at his age, and after his terrible 2014 season, how much is he really worth?)
As for the Nats and Escobar, the move could have a number of implications. For now, Escobar will play second, and the Nats could finally dump Danny Espinosa if they want. Escobar could then slide over to short next year if Ian Desmond walks in free agency. Or the Nationals could deal Desmond – to the Mets, maybe, to pick up a young pitcher? – and use Escobar at short. If that happens, you could then see the Nationals even more willing to deal a one-year starter like Jordan Zimmermann, because they would have picked up cover in the form of whatever young pitcher they got.