NASHVILLE -- Yunel Escobar, we hardly knew ye.
The Marlins traded the shortstop to the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league middle infielder Derek Dietrich not long after obtaining him in their 12-player trade with Toronto.
Dietrich, who was listed by Baseball America as the Rays' ninth-best prospect, is a former second-round pick who hit .271 last season at Double A. The 23-year-old product of Georgia Tech has played both second base and shortstop, and can also play third.
The Marlins, who are set at shortstop with Escobar's former Toronto teammate -- Adeiny Hechavarria -- have been shopping Escobar for weeks. But they made up their minds to trade him when Escobar waffled on his desire to play third base, the position the Marlins intended for him to play.
"We met with Yunel 10 days ago and he said he was comfortable playing third base," said Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. "Recently he came back to us and said he was not comfortable playing third base. So we were not comfortable moving forward with him."
Escobar is due to make $5 million next season. Beinfest said the Marlins intend to take that money and re-invest it in a player -- or players -- on the major league roster. One obvious area of need is third base. The Marlins are considering free agents Mark Reynolds and Ian Stewart as possibilities. Beinfest said they will also explore trades for a third baseman.
The Marlins are also continuing to explore center field options.
NASHVILLE -- The Marlins are continuing to talk with several teams about Yunel Escobar and an agreement could be reached tonight. One major league source said the Tampa Bay Rays appear to be the frontrunner for the infielder, but the A's, Yankees and Cardinals are also reportedly involved.
In a story published Tuesday by Nuevo Herald, Escobar said he's ready to move on from the Marlins, who obtained the shortstop in their 12-player trade with Toronto last month.
Said Escobar: "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. I think I have a lot to offer as a ballplayer, but you need to be wanted. I’m not feeling that here.”
If the Marlins are successful in trading Escobar, they're expected to take his $5 million salary for next season and re-invest it back into the major league roster. Third base is one obvious area that would need addressing, and free agents Mark Reynolds and Ian Stewart are considered "possibilities," a source said. The Marlins also have interest in Mark DeRosa.
Ricky Nolasco probably isn't going anywhere, even though his agent has said he wants out of Miami. According to one source with knowledge of the situation, the Marlins don't want to trade Nolasco because they need his $11.5 million salary next season to prop up payroll. Nolasco stands to be the highest-paid Marlin by far.
There's a better chance that he would be dealt at the July 31 trading deadline.
Larry Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, said he "really have nothing to say" when asked for his reaction about agent Matt Sosnick's comments.
"We definitely did see them," Beinfest said. "We read them, and that's it."