I don’t know why we’re hearing so much of this stuff, except perhaps because we know the Jays are neither going to confirm it or deny it, but today we have yet another rumour-mongering involving Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar, this time from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Now, it’s undeniable that it makes a little bit of sense to think the Jays might see the value in dealing Escobar and his very friendly contract. Adeiny Hechavarria may be more ready with the bat than I generally tend to believe, and this week’s promotion of Anthony Gose may indicate that we should believe even less about a prospect’s weak PCL stats than we already do. And though I don’t think I’m wrong in believing that the defensive value Hechavarria could provide probably isn’t nearly enough to offset the gulf between his bat and Escobar’s when he’s going well, it’s pointed out to me every time we’ve gone through this exercise that there may be more value in having Hechavarria plus whatever Escobar can be traded for, than there is in either shifting the younger Cuban to second base or slating him for the minors as a redundant piece.

And right now Escobar’s bat doesn’t look anything close to what it has at his peak.

As the Atlanta Braves appeared to notice a couple years ago, when Yunel isn’t going well, he really isn’t going well, and with a peak monthly wOBA of just .312 in May, and a somehow-even-worse-than-April .217 thus far in July, you could be forgiven for wondering why you’re so sure the club maybe couldn’t be getting more out of Hechavarria than Escobar.

Thing is, though, we know Escobar has a pretty terrific ceiling as an offensive shortstop, having put up a .345 wOBA with a .369 on-base last season, and that he can succeed with a groundball rate verging on 60%, as he has now and as he did last year (albeit 1.8% lower). He’s swinging at more pitches this year, and his walk rate is way down, presumably as a consequence, but it’s not like there are a whole lot of red flags screaming at us to say that he can’t go back to being a whole lot more successful. Awful as it’s looked, I’d argue that there’s still talent there.

Whether or not you believe that talent will be still be suiting up for the Jays at the end of the month actually comes down to just how seriously you take these kinds of reports.

True, Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail has been hearing rumblings, writing a week ago, for example, that “there are still nights when he leaves his manager and teammates wondering ‘Wow, is that really all there is?’” But Heyman’s saying that he “keep[s] hearing” that the club wants to deal is pretty fucking nebulous.

Has he been reading Jeff Blair? Ken Rosenthal? Jon Morosi? A piece from Spring Training in the Toronto Sun where Bob Elliott wrote that “privately the Jays complain about Escobar missing signs”?

I mean, sure, Escobar seems to rub people the wrong way, and when his results aren’t there to make it all better, maybe someone starts to wonder if he’s worth having. And when you see the fantastic contract he signed and what an asset he’d be on the trade market, given that there’s very possibly a ready-made replacement for him in Las Vegas, you wonder more. But all the reasons there are for other clubs jumping at the chance to acquire him are reasons the Jays should want him too, and all the Jays’ reasons for being high on Hechavarria are reasons that may animate other clubs to seek him out.

We just don’t know. Everybody is in play, and it’s possible that one of these guys isn’t in the long-term plans, but who the hell possibly knows until something actually happens? Only Anthopoulos, I figure.


Hat tip to MLBTR for the link. Image via Kyle Rivas/Getty.

Comments (102)

  1. Wierd to me that they’d give up on Escobar so quickly after giving so much rope to Hill and Lind. Also what’s WOBA?

    –Oshawa Ollie

    • Hill and Lind had no replacement waiting in the wings down in AAA. It wasn’t that they were given so much rope, but there was no one around to take their jobs.

      • Thanks for the link dude! Guess your right about Hill and Lind, but seems like they could have plugged Lind’s position right quick with someone else by free agency. Also seems like it couldn’t hurt to have Hech play another year in AAA while Escobar tries to turn it around.

        No matter what, exciting time to be a Jays fan!

        • Maybe just me, but WOBA is kind of confusing. LMAO

          –Oshawa Ollie

          • Not really Ollie. Just think of it like OBP, but slightly adjusted so that a HR is counted as more valuable than a walk or a single. OBP treats all On-Base outcomes as equally valuable, which is obviously not the case. A HR is better than a triple, is better than a double, is better than a single, is better than a HBP is better than a walk. wOBA takes all that into account.

          • How do they come up with the weights? And why is a RBOE weighted higher than a single? I should really get around to reading The Book.

            Just read Hayhurst and Dickey’s books…pretty entertaining and well done, if anyone’s interested.

          • Haven’t read Dickey’s books, have read Hayhurst’s, and I liked it a lot.

            As for the weights, I believe that a little internet digging will find you that answer. But from what I understand, the weighting is based on the actual run values associated with an outcome for that season. The score is then averaged to have the same league average as OBP (usually around .330 or so). Essentially, there’s a likelihood of a runner scoring if he’s still at the plate, at first, second, or third. The value of those likelihoods is then multiplied by the number of singles, doubles, etc, and then it’s adjusted to be the same as OBP. It’s the fairest way of comparing a singles hitter (eg. Ichiro) with a home run hitter (eg. Adam Dunn) for their total value contributed offensively.

    • Also, Hill and Lind were both homegrown players. While I don’t believe they’re going to move Escobar anyway, there is certainly less of an attachment to him than there is with Lind and was with Aaron Hill

      Also, how good would Hill look in this lineup if they were healthy the way he’s going?)

  2. ‘I mean, sure, Escobar seems to rub people the wrong way’

    – based on? based on lazy observations and stereotypes, i guess. drink some coffee Stoeten! you’re starting to sound like the people you (rightly) mock.

    • For fucking serious? You mean Blair’s comments, Elliott’s comments, and the entire way Atlanta kicked him to the curb really isn’t enough?

      • yeah – Blair, if you ever (accidentally) listen to him on baseball, is hysterical, Elliott is . . . i have no words, and Chipper Jones didn’t like Escobar’s whistling.

        i know you’re admitting you’re wrong on the inside and i’m satisfied by that.

        • Just reading your posts it’s clear you’re an ass.

        • Trollin’ is apparently your hobby. There are plenty of bad baseball writers out there, but I wouldn’t put Bob Elliott in that category. The paper he works for? That’s another story. Please stop trolling though. K?Thanks.

      • on a related matter – did you see the clip of Jones ra-ra-ing his teammates before the all star game? i think *they* were waiting to kick *him* to the curb.

    • ha! you must be charmed by his Ricky Martin demeanor… I back the guy up 100% and think he’s an outstanding talent, but you can clearly see the guy has a major D-bag attitude.

    • and why is the fan base biting on the rumour mill again? not one of these media whores have been right yet. oh yeah the fan base is retarded in toronto. fuckin gullible losers feeding the blatant liars. need a story for deadline day? make one for the jays because it will never be denied. look at all the free ads tha jays get for bullshit journalism from story starved media whores. almost unbelievable

  3. Great post, I lke it. I think most believe Hetch is ready on the D side, but the bat needs work. If moving Escobar fills a hole somewhere else (like second) then pull the trigger. Its getting time for things to happen. So do it now!

  4. Next year will be super scary with 4 starters with sup 300 obp gose, lind, hech and arencibia. God save us!

  5. What happens if we trade escobar and hechs glove cant cover for his bat, who plays short then? whos the next shortstop in the jays minor system?

  6. Wasn’t Omar Vizquel supposed to help with all of that ‘character’ stuff? Makes his roster spot an even bigger waste.

  7. Hechavarria’s .717 OPS on the road this season leads me to believe that his bat is not ready. His PCL wRC+ of 110 also leads me to believe this even more.

    • Judging by his numbers, yeah, he’s not anywhere near offensively ready. If the Jays plan to start Hech at SS next season, they’ll only be turning that spot in the lineup into a black hole.

  8. There could be another reason to trade Yunel if they like the return for him, if they really do value Vizquels insight or whatever they want him to preach to Yunel- maybe they would want him to instill that on Hech if he’s the future at SS. I can’t imagine Omar is hear next season when Hech might be up palying 2B or SS, so if they really do want Vizquel to share his wisdom then call up Hech before he retires.

    Again this is if they really did bring Omar to teach Yunel and Hech. If not why is he still here, I respect him no doubt but do we really need 3 bench coaches Wak, Omar and Francisco.

    • I could see Visquel staying around as a coach next year .

      I don’t think they will trade Escobar this year.

  9. True dat Stoeten. Well said. But seriously, can’t it just be July 31st already? All of these what if scenarios are driving me crazy.

  10. People hate Escobar because he’s a lazy Cuban who doesn’t run out every ground ball at full speed even when there is no chance of him being safe. Compare that to the energetic and plucky Canadian Brett Lawrie who will leap headfirst into a dugout to not catch a foul ball and put himself out of action for the next few weeks.

  11. Until we know what direction they are going with Johnson, seems rather odd timing for an in-season deal. I don’t want holes at 2 positions

    • Hech is the SS going forward, now or anytime in the next year. AA knows if KJ is staying by now, so if there is a hole at second, an experienced SS like Escobar will get us value at 2nd or LF from a contending team.

  12. Talk about Escobar.. why don’t the Jays try trading rickey ro. He is having a bad season…prolly worse than Escobar is.

  13. All of this makes sense, I just can’t see Anthopoulos dealing Escobar at the bottom of his value.

    I almost wonder if it’s the old bait and switch, to find out which teams are looking for a shortstop, and then “reluctantly” agree to deal Hechavarria instead.

  14. Gentlemen: you had my curiosity; now you have my attention.

  15. Could Yunel be a fit for AZ if u know what I mean?

  16. I think it’s simple. If the value offered for Yunel is > than AA puts on him vs the value AA puts on Hech vs. what he is worth to others, you trade that guy.

  17. well the season is over, so lets sell what trash we have left… Yunel (if we can find the right deal), Oliver(lets not bank on him having this type of season next yr, hes 41 and a RP) Johnson (hes not coming back)and Fraser( he wants to get paid this overseason)..

    • I think Frasor will stick around. He’s comfortable here.

      Oliver could fall apart next year. But they coud use him in low leverage situations.

      Escobar does some things that are annoying but he’s still a very good player

  18. Im not too surprised by this. Escobar makes a lot of mental mistakes not to mention his affinity for hitting ground balls. I would be fine with dealing him or hech in a package for upton.

  19. It is a bait and switch.

    Make everyone believe you really like Adeiny and think he is MLB ready and is perhaps even better than Escobar. Then when you are close to a deal, you “upgrade” Yunel with Adeiny and finally “cave” in.

  20. Before Escobar, I can’t remember the last good SS the Jays had.

    You gotta probably go back to Tony Batista and then all the way back to Tony Fernandez.

    I don’t want to go through nonstop stop-gaps anymore.

    I would be really hesitant on dealing Escobar.

  21. Really don’t want to deal Yunel to make room for a guy with a career .699 OPS in the minors. We finally get a good SS under a great contract and we’re seemingly in a hurry to deal him.

  22. Honestly, what this team needs most of all is time. It needs to get some more pitchers healthy and more pitchers developing through the system.

    I don’t think there is any point in trying to make a deal at this point to even be in a pennant race because the team is going to be out of it so soon. The time for a move was a month ago before everything started imploding.

    This could be a nice year to be a definite seller because of the increase in teams that are in the playoff hunt. It’s best to take advantage of the hand you are dealt- which has been lousy.

  23. This is likely a useless personal opinion, and I think it might be influenced by critics of Escobar before we got him from ATL, but his body language and action on the field just kills me. He always looks like he’s looking down on his team mates, especially Kelly, whenever a play isn’t made – he seems to think he can do no wrong. I just can’t see him as having a lot of support from his fellow players or the coaching staff with the attitude that he (seemingly) has. Good chemistry is a very important factor on this team when things are going good, so I would totally be happy with any deal that gives the jays a reasonable piece.

  24. I keep hearing that Pretty Tony has a problem with his “hit tool”

    Well, let me tell you, from my experience Tony’s real problem is with his dick tool!

  25. If Hechevarria is indeed ready to play, I’d try to trade Yunel to the A’s. Oakland has tons of good arms and they’re starting shortstops are a platoon of Brandon Hicks and Cliff Pennington. Jays need arms, Oakland needs a better left side of the infield.

  26. So here’s the question I’ve got, and maybe if I have time one day I’ll research the answer.

    Q: What course is most likely to result in a title (or if necessary, the most titles)?
    a) Trade the farm for the pieces necessary to complement this team, and make a few title runs.
    b) Trade anything with positive value on this team for the best prospects you can get (the “untouchables” when possible), develop the prospects yourself, and turn the prospects into a title-contending core.
    c) Stand pat and see what happens.

    See the problem with a) is that this core can’t make the playoffs as is; if you trade the farm for the pieces to go for a title, you’re turning a non-playoff team into a playoff team, not a title-contending team (unless you get lucky). They’ll contend for a few years, and then the farm will be bare and we’ll be back to sucking.

    But b) is not without problems either. How often do top prospects turn out? 1 out of every 3? So would that mean you’d have to get 27 position prospects in order to have a good chance at a “star at every position” philosophy, like we have now? Could you even get 30 quality prospects if you sold off the team? Where would you play all these prospects? And while you wait for them to come up, we’d be back to sucking.

    Anyways, I kind of want to see someone do the math to figure out which strategy is better.

    • The correct answer is A. Just look at the jays roster and see how many of the good players were prospects/trades/free agents

      bautista – trade
      edwin – trade
      jansenn – draft
      romero – draft
      lawrie – trade
      rasmus – trade
      morrow – trade
      escobar – trade
      lind – draft

      as you can see most of the talent is acquired through trades. You should always try to trade for young controllable major league ready talent. When the team goes bad in about 3 years when jose and edwin’s contracts end, then blow it up and get rebuild with high draft picks.

    • One of the reasons the jays are still behind the yankees and red sox is because frankly their player development sucks. The jays have never developed their own cano or pedroia. Look at all the players who started off well and tailed off. Rios, wells, hill, and now lind. Im kind of hesitant about the jays player development. Even lawrie has been somewhat of a disappointment on the offensive end. He has some vernon wells in him. So I think you need to trade prospcts for proven mlb players. Of course, no guarantees that even proven mlb players will work out as players have down yrs but you have to take the chance. Also, to address your second point I dont think in baseball you can distinguish a playoff team from a championship team. If you are good enough to get in the playoffs you have a legit chance of winning. Nobody thought the cardinals or giants would win the title but they did and luck was a big part of it. Best talent doesn’t always win in baseball unlike sports like basketball where stars matter most.

      • Very good post. The key for the Jays is to have a competitive season. Sadly, by the end of the weekend, the Jays could be out of the race.

        The Jays should continue to look for an escobar or rasmus trade. The Jays are good at developing misfits from other teams.

      • Get a grip. Brett Lawrie is 22 years old. Also he was developed in the Brewers system.

      • We are in the top 5 for runs scored in baseball. Our offense is good enough to win a championship. What we need is some star pitching. We only had Romero and Morrow at the start of the year and no depth after that. We need another top of the rotation pitcher before we have a chance at contending.

  27. I will be very surprised if Escobar is not in a Jays uni come August

  28. I love the shitty attitude so trade comments. Ya we know he whistles too much and doesn’t always read signs, that’s how we got him for Tyler fucking Pastornicky in the first place.

    good attitude > bad attitude, but at the end of the day baseball is about creating and preventing runs. he does that, and he does it for cheap. I’ll take shitty attitude anyday, as long as it’s not quantifiable and therefore relevant to winning and losing, be a fucking asshole all you want

  29. Do you guys remember Omar Vizquel interview during spring training? When they asked him to compare Escobar or Hech to Elvis Andrus? He kinda refused to agree that they’re similar and he said the same thing about both of them. Said when they can’t hit or make mistakes, they can’t clear their head and it kinda affects their performance.

  30. Travis Snider with 2 HR`s and a double tonight.

    But it’s fine.. Gose is better.

    • I LOVED where Tabby and Buck were talking about how Farrell called the 51s manager and asked him who was playing the best and he said Gose. SURE he did,,,, I am sure that was how it went. While I have lost faith in Snider, the bringing up of Gose was a publicity thing. I think the decision was also to help Snider because I personally dont think that bringing him up to fill Jose’s shoes is a good idea, LOADS of pressure there for him which doesnt help him ease back in. And I also think that Murphy is just going to get ahold of him and fuck him up again undoing all of Mottolas hard work.

      They should have fucking traded Davis when he was hot, now he’s shitty again and no one will want him.

    • It shouldnt necessarily be a Snider/Gose thing with Jose injured..it should be a Snider / Davis platoon.

      In case people haven’t noticed..davis sucks at offense and defense. he can only steal bases and even then gets thrown out in embarrasingly stupid manners

      • Wouldn’t a Gose/Davis platoon make more sense considering Gose has a .517 OPS vs. LHP in the freaking PCL?

  31. Trade Escobar asap. That’s it thats all, trade him now. Hech can step in and have some time to spend with Omar for the remainder of the season which would be more beneficial to an eyes and ears open young rookie than a hot shot so full of ego that he likely just sees Omar as some has been. We also KNOW that when Hech pushes the envelope enough, Yunel will not be happy about moving to 2nd and thus he will become even more of a cancer in the clubhouse.

    But I have a few questions…

    For starters, who will play 2nd base for the Jays next season if Yunel is traded? There’s literally NOTHING on the upcoming free agent market unless they decide on extending Kelly Johnson which wouldnt be a horrible idea because he really isnt THAT bad but does he want to come back? and if he doesnt then what? There’s no one waiting in the wings so then what? You all have to know AA is asking that same question.

    Now if they trade Yunel, they trade him to who for what, now those are the questions. Trade to the A’s would likely be able to net the jays a good solid ready for action young pitcher which works well for me. But again…. back to question one.

    As to where else he might go… the Dbacks could be a possibility as part of a big Upton deal, obviously the Jays would have to send a few prospects over but that could work. However yet again back to question one…..

    I guess question one could be answered with another trade, just have to look around and see what possible 2nd base possibilities there will be this off season if Kelly Johnson doesnt want to come back or the Jays opt against bringing him back. What’s that list look like? It’s not a very big list. Anyone have any ideas?

  32. The only reason to trade Escobar that I see as a decent possibility is if we can get some sort of a no. 3 or 4 pitcher in return.

  33. I like Yunel, a dependable plug in the short. As for his character issues, was this evidenced by any lockeroom strife, does the team lack so much leadership as to allow this to fester and disrupt teamwork? I don’t think it is serious to warrant it as the sole reason for trade. Unless it is BJ Ryan kind of bad, it should be resolved in the clubhouse.

  34. He has an ego,,, so what, BUT,,, when he moves to 2B which he will eventually have to, then that ego will be bruised and thus the cancer will start just like its spreading in Miami with Hanley and his understandably bruised ego, but it had to happen and it did. Now theyre dealing with his BS.

    So…. what to do?

  35. I’m too biased to suggest anything with Yunel because I like him so damn much.

    I think he’s the least of the problems the Jays have. This team desperately needs another number 2 to bridge the team until the dead arms return or the minors have some more arms to shred.

    Second base is something you can sort out in the offseason easily enough.

  36. The only additional thing I’ll say about Escobar is this: I’m not sure he’s willing to move to second base. There’s probably more value in trading him as a top 10 shortstop than moving him to second base anyways. You probably have to use Hech as part of a larger deal to acquire a major league asset, whereas Escobar could probably get something of value straight up. Escobar is a big man. He turns 30 in November. How much longer does he have at SS? If the Jays are starting to feel that he doesn’t have much longer, aren’t they better to trade him now, before that becomes more apparent to everyone else? That said, he is the best shortstop we’ve had since TONY FUCKING FERNANDEZ, and I’d hate to return to the revolving door we had from, like, 1994-2010. So…..

  37. (Sorry, I guess we had Alex “the K” Gonzalez for five or six years. So the revolving door has only been for, like, a decade or so.)

  38. I know a lot of you are saying that “it’s not like AA to trade somebody having a down year”, but I might suggest that shortstops (and center fielders) don’t tend to improve their value in their 30′s? Ideally you want those positions manned by twenty somethings. No?

  39. The reason AA is so high on dealing Escoar is simple…..

    His value in the trade market is extremely high and he doesn’t feel the drop-off to Hech is that much.

    A very reasonable contracted SS who plays great defense and does have some bat potential in a league where 22 of the 30 teams think they can get a playoff spot… (and all can afford his contract). AA can probably get a top pitching prospect for him or maybe part of a 3way deal to bring in a major league pitcher

  40. Um, guys……I’m kind of scratching my head at the assumption that Hech will ever be able to hit baseballs at the major league level.

    Maybe he COULD, and if he can, I’m thrilled. But when you have so many question marks as we do with Hech, you simply don’t trade your starting SS.

    Everything Hech has done up to and including the very day he was promoted to AAA says that he can’t. His numbers in the PCL mean absolutely nothing to me. Yan Gomes has a .950 OPS in Vegas.

    Dewayne “fucking” Wise had a .935 OPS in the PCL last year (split between \new Orleans and Vegas).

    Hech’s .810 OPS is actually not good at all, considering wher h’es playing. Not to mention his away splits are not good (Vegas is like the Coors Field of the PCL). Away from Vegas, he’s got a .717 OPS.

    We need to prepare ourselves for Manny Lee (albeit with a better glove) if we plan on Hech being our SS of the future.

    Which is why I say, trade Hech.

  41. Yunel Escobar is now experiencing what is usually reserved for Russian hockey players in Canada. Its patently absurd to hear what some people are saying about this guy’s personality. Unless you speak Spanish and hang out in the clubhouse every day – I call MAJOR bullshit on all this hyperbole.

    None of you know anything about his attitude whatsoever. You know what you’ve read. You infer from body language. That doesn’t tell you anything real.

    You know that there are people who didn’t like him in ATL. That means nothing. Tony La Russa v Colby Rasmus is evidence enough for that.

    Should the Jays trade him? Sure – he’s got value as a guy who has put up nearly 19 Wins in 5 years. He’s got a team friendly contract. The Jays have another younger shortstop. All of these things are reasons to trade him. Speculation on the rumors of his personality are not a reason whatsoever.

  42. I wish the jays were playing better, if only to ensure that the every second article about them wasn’t about a potential trade that evolved out of hearsay. This combined with prospect porn leads me to believe that the pure volume of coverage, which i initially thought was great, is reaching a satuation point through dilution. Oxymoron? Probably.

  43. we desperately need a top of the order pitcher plus help in the pen if we want to compete next year. our offense is good (top 5 in runs scored) but our pitching sucks!

  44. I can’t believe how stupid people are. OMG who is going to play short???? Fuck there are lots of SS availabe. Alex gonzalez, scutaro who both can hit better than yunel. And yunel is still young. If you wait a couple of years he’ll have little value so trade his ass now for a starter or a power arm before he declines any further.

  45. “who the hell possibly knows until something actually happens? Only Anthopoulos, I figure.”

    God bless him, he keeps his mouth shut. The only time I ever found fault with that was the Darvish Disaster.

    I reckon Escobar and his team-friendly contract *has* to be available to some other GM who thinks he has the tools if not the smarts.

  46. I put zero weight in any vague rumor reports. There’s no doubt it’s maddening to watch Escobar ground into double plays over and over and over! Along with his I don’t give a crap attitude on the field and the fact he is a complete ball hog chasing Kelly Johnson out of his position time and time again to catch a pop up and it’s not hard to imagine the jays are wearing thin with him. He has limited range as a big bodied SS but has a canon for a arm when he does get to a ball. I would trade him if it brought me the piece I needed knowing I have a good SS in AAA

  47. Trading Escobar is a terrible idea unless there is plenty of talent coming back in the deal (i.e. if Escobar is part of a package for Upton…).

    There is absolutely no reason to cut bait on Escobar at all. It makes even less sense when he is scuffling and you may not realize full value on the market.

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