Hello, goodbye: Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar sent to Oakland Athletics for John Jaso, prospects

The Rays look confident that the Asdrubal Cabrera era will end well for them. That, or they’re completely out of their minds.

The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly completed a trade with the Oakland Athletics sending infielders Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Oakland Athletics for catcher John Jaso and two prospects.

The hot stove had surrounded Zobrist for the past few weeks after the Rays signed Cabrera, leaving Tampa with a surplus of one of this offseason’s hottest commodities: infielders.

Last season, the multi-talented Zobrist (who has recorded time at FIVE positions) batted .272/.354/.395 (116 OPS+) with 10 home runs and 52 RBI. Escobar hit .258/.324/.340 (92 OPS+) with 7 home runs and 39 RBI.

The Athletics had recently completed an essential firesale of their infield, sending off Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss, and losing Jed Lowrie to free-agency. With Zobrist and Escobar sliding in, they now have a revamped middle infield, and/or outfield (depending on where the Athletics choose to put Zobrist.)

Potential suitors for the duo had included the Nationals, Mets, Giants and a few others. (According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Mets and Nats were actually close to a three team trade that would’ve involved Escobar and Zobrist.)

Over his 9-year career, Zobrist has hit .264/.354/.429 (117 OPS+) with 114 home runs and 511 RBI. Over Escobar’s 8-year career, he has hit .276/.347/.381 (98 OPS+) with 69 home runs and 393 RBI.

In return, the Athletics sent catcher John Jaso and prospects Boog Powell (OF) and Daniel Robertson (SS/3B) to the Rays.

Jaso, who batted .264/.337/.430 (117 OPS+) with 9 home runs and 40 RBI over 307 ABs will become the backup catcher for Tampa Bay. Powell and Robertson were unranked and 4th by Baseball Prospectus heading into 2014, respectively.

Over his 6-year career, Jaso has batted .259/.359/.399 (114 OPS+) with 32 home runs and 182 RBI.


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