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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 15th, 2015
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The Nationals have acquired infielder Yunel Escobar from the Athletics for All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard. The A’s picked up Escobar from Tampa Bay, along with Ben Zobrist, in a trade Saturday that sent catcher John Jaso and two minor leaguers to the Rays. Escobar hit .258 with seven homers and 39 RBIs for Tampa Bay last season. The Nationals have been looking for a starting second baseman, and Escobar started 20 games there in 2007.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 14th, 2015
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ben Zobrist needs few reminders of the quirks that come with playing in the Oakland Coliseum, his new home.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 12th, 2015
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Just when we think we have the answers, Billy Beane changes the questions. The Oakland A’s general manager continued what would be best described as an aggressive and sometimes confusing retooling of his major league roster on Saturday by agreeing to acquire Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Tampa Bay Rays. The #Athletics are on the verge of acquiring Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the #Rays , the @sfchronicle has learned. — Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 10, 2015 Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was the first to report a deal was nearing. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman filled in the first blank , noting that veteran catcher John Jaso will be headed to the Rays. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that Oakland’s top shortstop prospect Daniel Robertson and outfielder Boog Powell are included as well.   After trading big pieces like Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jeff Samardzija this offseason, it was easy to draw the conclusion that Beane was looking to rebuild his roster. Current outfielder Josh Reddick even jumped to that conclusion immediately following the stunning Donaldson trade to the Toronto Blue Jays. However, the signing of Billy Butler to a three-year, $30 million contract that precluded all of those deals probably should have tipped us off. Beane had a plan. A plan that became necessary after he went all-in to win the World Series in 2014, acquiring Samardzija, Jason Hammel and later Jon Lester, but ultimately fell short. He knew the plan might not make sense after steps one, two, three and even four. But he knew his payroll couldn’t support the weight, and he knew he needed to turn some assets into depth if he hoped to make another run in 2015. Several steps later, his plan is taking shape. He’s done a very effective job retooling within his means, but that won’t guarantee success in a strong AL West.  As for this trade specifically, the additions of Zobrist and Escobar complete a total overhaul of Oakland’s infield. Out are Moss (trade), Eric Sogard (bench), Jed Lowrie (signed with Houston) and Donaldson (trade). In are Butler and Ike Davis, who was acquired from Pittsburgh, Zobrist, Escobar and Brett Lawrie, who came over in the Donaldson deal.   Zobrist, who turns 34 in May, brings some consistency on offense and versatility on defense. Over the past four seasons, he’s hit between .269 and .275. His matching .354 OBPs over the past two seasons also match his career number. The home run totals have fallen off, but they’ll sacrifice that for a guy who can play both middle infield positions and the outfield.  With a reasonable $7.5 million salary in 2015, many are pointing out that Zobrist could be a good trade chip as well if Oakland fails to contend.  Escobar, 32, is a straight up shortstop with limited upside. He hit .258/.324/.340 in 529 plate appearances with the Rays in 2014, which is in line with recent seasons and acceptable for his position, but his drop-off defensively should be concerning. If that continues in Oakland, he may not add much to their cause.  On the other side, the Rays have done their share of retooling as well following the departure of general manager Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon. They, too, aren’t throwing in the towel completely after recently inking Asbrudal Cabrera to a one-year deal , but they’re definitely cutting payroll with an eye likely more focused on the future.    #Rays look like they are taking payroll down about $15M-$20M from last year. Still strong SP, but ’15 lineup could be issue. Looking big pic — Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 10, 2015 Such is life for team’s in “small markets,” but history suggests both organizations will find ways to remain relevant despite their changing plans. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 11th, 2015
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Like most of the baseball world, Oakland A’s outfielder Josh Reddick was struggling to connect the dots after general manager Billy Beane dealt his friend and arguably Oakland’s best player, Josh Donaldson, to the Toronto Blue Jays back on Nov. 28. Reddick was not shy about expressing his confusion, frustration and disappointment following the trade either, stating publicly that the A’s were clearly in rebuilding mode . Josh Reddick tells me he is shocked by Donaldson trade. “This doesn’t make sense to me. We just traded our best player the last 2 years.” — Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 29, 2014 Josh Reddick says it’s clear to him and other #Athletics players that team is now in rebuilding mode. — Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) November 29, 2014 Beane would go on to trade starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija, first baseman Brandon Moss and All-Star catcher Derek Norris in the following weeks, which we’re sure didn’t ease Reddick’s feeling of impending roster destruction. However, Saturday’s acquisition of Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Tampa Bay Rays seems to have quickly restored his faith.  pic.twitter.com/8vinkqR8jQ — J-Red (@RealJoshReddick) January 10, 2015 Once again, redemption is Beane’s.  Of course, you think we would have learned by now to just sit back and let Beane execute his plan before judging too harshly. But sometimes it’s difficult to follow the two or three steps he’s willing to take back and keep an eye on the endgame at the same time. Difficult enough that even his own players don’t always catch on initially. With Saturday’s trade, Beane has cemented his intentions to retool, not rebuild following three consecutive postseason appearences. Given that success, rebuilding was never a realistic option anyway, but retooling became necessary when he went all-in to win the World Series in 2014, acquiring Samardzija, Jason Hammel and later Jon Lester, but ultimately fell short. Whether or not the retooling pays off will be determined months from now, but just getting the players still under his employ back on his side and on the same page can only increase their chances.  BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: – - – - – - – Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Townie813

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 11th, 2015
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — After spending much of the offseason dealing away stars, Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane added one for a change.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 10th, 2015
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BALTIMORE (AP) — Outfielder Delmon Young has finalized a $2.25 million, one-year contract to play a second season with the Baltimore Orioles.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 9th, 2015
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CLEVELAND (AP) — As a former major league pitcher, Jason Bere knows his way around any bullpen.

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Post info: By TBRays01 on January 6th, 2015
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Post info: By TBRays01 on December 30th, 2014
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After back-to-back seasons in which he made just a combined 16 starts for the Toronto Blue Jays, right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow is set to try to revive his career with the San Diego Padres. The 30-year-old with a history of oblique, forearm, and finger issues agreed Tuesday to join the Padres on a low risk, high reward one-year deal worth $2.5 million plus incentives.  MLB.com Padres reporter Corey Brock was first to report the news and has the contract details: Morrow’s deal with the #Padres : $2.5 million guarantee + chance to earn $5 million in bonuses for starting and $1 million for relieving. — Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) December 16, 2014 Morrow is the second oft-injured Blue Jays pitcher in two years to attempt a fresh start with the Padres. Josh Johnson had a disastrous 2013 season in Toronto after being acquired in the mega-trade with the Miami Marlins . Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 earned-run average and pitched just 81.1 innings. In November 2013, Johnson signed a one-year deal worth $8 million with the Padres – but never saw the field. In April, he underwent his second Tommy John surgery and missed the entire 2014 season. The Padres did not pick up his option and he remains a free agent. Morrow, who in addition to his injury woes suffers from diabetes , can only hope to do better in San Diego than Johnson did. Morrow was reportedly offered an opportunity to fight for a spot in the Blue Jays bullpen, but his preference is to start. Despite 2015 being his age-31 season, Morrow has the pedigree to get back on track. He was a first-round pick, fifth overall, of the Seattle Mariners in 2006. He arrived in Toronto via trade in late 2009 in exchange for reliever Brandon League. The Blue Jays moved him from the bullpen to the starting rotation and for a while it looked like they had a budding ace. Morrow made 26 starts and won 10 games in 2010. On Aug. 8 of that year, he threw a memorable one-hit shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out 17 and losing his no-hit bid with two out in the ninth. He followed that up with a breakout 2011 season, making 30 starts, winning 11 games, and striking out 203 batters in 179.1 innings. But soon after, his injuries woes began and he’s been unable to stay on the field since. He missed 64 games in 2012 with an oblique injury, 107 games with a strained right forearm in 2013, and another 107 games last year due to a finger injury. When he’s healthy and at his best Morrow possesses a mid-90s fastball and a great slider he uses for his outpitch. In his breakout 2011 season he had an AL-best 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings rate. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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Post info: By TBRays01 on December 27th, 2014
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