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Thursday July 15, 2010 2:11 am

Yunel Escobar heading north in five-man deal




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB, Trades,

Yunel EscobarYunel Escobar woke up on Wednesday morning wearing Atlanta Braves navy blue and scarlet. He went to sleep imagining himself in Toronto black, silver and blue. In a surprising five-man deal, Escobar and teammate Jo-Jo Reyes left the Braves system in return for Toronto’s power-hitting shortstop Alex Gonzalez and minor league prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky. The former is known as a 5’7” strikeout pitcher and the latter an inexperienced shortstop with a high ceiling.

If it’s fair to evaluate the trade right now, the Braves win hands-down. They get rid of Escobar, pick up Gonzalez at his highest value offensively and who has always been great defensively, and they pick up a pair of minor leaguers who were high on the Blue Jays prospects list. As a team making a push for a division title this year, the Braves certainly look like they made the right short-term move as buyers by acquiring Gonzalez.

Escobar, on the other hand, is not as lucky. He’ll move considerably north to a team struggling to stay afloat in the toughest division in baseball and who have had almost as many shortstops in the last decade as they’ve had home runs this season. While he’s still under control for the next few years, the Jays were also the unexpected winners in the sweepstakes for Cuban shortstop Adeiny Hechevarria, who looks like he’ll be with the big club sooner than later.

But that makes Escobar the shortstop of the present. Despite his 2010 struggles, he’s proven that he can be a big league shortstop, he’s considerably younger than Gonzalez, and he may just fit right in on a team who’s motto seems to be “just swing.” Escobar needs to get out of his own head, and if it takes a 1,500-mile move to do it, then so be it. It’s not likely his hitting slump will continue, but if it does, as long as he starts blasting the occasional long ball and plays the stellar defense he’s capable of, he’ll fit right in with his new teammates.

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