It is routine procedure for every team in baseball to put players on revocable waivers in August, allowing teams one last opportunity at trades post-deadline. It is not routine procedure, however, for a Rays player's name to surface as a potential August trade or pickup.
The current replacement, Andy Parrino, is batting a mere .248 wOBA in eleven games thus far, and isn't expected to contribute higher than a .260 wOBA. In a down season, Yunel Escobar is batting a .284 wOBA and could see some positive regression down the stretch.
Escobar was a gold glove finalist in 2013, and is signed to an advantageous contract. After personally seeking out an extension in the off-season, Escobar will make $12M across the next two seasons, with a $1M buyout or a $7M option for 2017.
Moving Ben Zobrist back to the diamond from the outfield allows room for Wil Myers and David DeJesus to work back into the picture this season, but long term, it's not entirely clear who the Rays' back up would be before the possible arrival of Willy Adames at least two years from now.
Some sort of a platoon between Ben Zobrist, Sean Rodriguez, Nick Franklin, and Logan Forsythe could hold down the middle of the diamond next season, if Escobar were to be traded. Nick Franklin has experience at short, playing 58.2 innings without any errors for the Mariners before his acquisition, and his bat should pair well with Logan Forsythe next season. Against right handed hitters, Zobrist and Franklin could share second and short respectively, then against southpaws, Forsythe could play his natural second and Zobrist could spot at short.
Ben Zobrist is an acceptable defender, but he's not a long term solution either. His final year under contact will be 2015, his age 34 season, and short stop is an athletic position. Zorilla's instincts carry him far anywhere on the field, but the rigor of short is not ideal.
Perhaps one of the Rays' former highly regarded prospects with knee injuries -- Tim Beckham and Hak-Ju Lee -- could be promoted from Durham. The Rays could even be aggressive with the promotion of second base prospect Ryan Brett to add another piece to the puzzle, or additional organizational depth like Cole Figueroa. There's a lot of satisfactory options in house, but nothing obvious.
There is always the free agent market, or another trade down the line, but it's hard to say what the next move would definitively be. The truth of the matter is that everyone has their price, and if the A's are willing to pay what the Rays think is fair for Yunel Escobar, this team will probably make the move.
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- Yunel Escobar
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- the Rays