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Rays close to acquiring SS Escobar from Miami

Posted Dec 5, 2012 by Roger Mooney

Updated Dec 5, 2012 at 12:43 AM

. The Tampa Bay Rays continued make noise at the Winter Meetings.

It appears they are close to acquiring shortstop Yunel Escobar late Tuesday night from the Miami Marlins for shortstop Derek Dietrich.

The acquisition will likely means that Ben Zobrist is headed back to his old role of right fielder/second baseman, sharing time with Matt Joyce in right and Ryan Roberts at second.

It also could mean the Rays have the answer to their shortstop dilemma since Escobar is signed for $5 million this season and has two options years at $5 million each.

It also means Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was able to acquire a first baseman (James Loney) and a shortstop this week without trading a pitcher.

The 30-year-old Escobar was part of the 11-player trade between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Miami Marlins on Nov. 19. He made headlines in September when he wrote Homosexual slurs on the eye-black under his eyes, an act which drew a three-game suspension. He later apologized.

Escobar, who began his career in Atlanta, has been the subject of trade talk since the start of the meetings. He told the Spanish-language El Nuevo Herald in Miami on Tuesday that he wanted out of Miami.

“I came here with a lot of excitement to play in front of Miami’s Latin fans, especially the Cuban ones, but in these moments I think the best for my career is to go somewhere else where I’m appreciated more,” he told El Nuevo Herald. “I think I have a lot to offer as a ballplayer, but you need to be wanted. I’m not feeling that here.”

Escobar is a career .282 hitter, who batted .272 in his three years with the Blue Jays.

Dietrich was named the MVP of the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs after hitting .282 with 10 home runs, 58 RBI and 21 doubles in 2012.

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