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Yunel Escobar didn't want to play 3B, traded to Rays for minor-league infielder

     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.

      DietrichDietrich, 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.