In the immortal words of Donna Summer, for Yunel Escobar, his Florida trade yesterday from the Marlins to the Rays is his, Last dance, Last chance, for love.”
Miami sent the troubled shortstop and his $5 million salary in an interleague intra-state deal across Florida to Tampa for minor league infielder Derek Dietrich.
Acquired in the 12-player trade that sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to Toronto on November 19, the 30-year-old Escobar batted .253 last season and had nine homers, 51 RBI, and a three-game suspension in September for wearing eye black displaying an anti-gay slur written in Spanish during a game against Boston.
“I think he definitely learned a lesson from the eye-black incident,” Rays executive vice president for baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “I think it had a real impact on him and that he feels remorse about it. And the digging that we did — we believe that it was an isolated incident and that nothing of that nature will be a concern going forward, or we wouldn’t have acquired him.”
The 23-year-old Dietrich, a second-round draft pick in 2010, was selected MVP of Class-A Charlotte this year, batting .282 with a team-high 10 homers and 58 RBI. He was promoted to Double-A Montgomery on July 28 and finished with a combined .279 average with 14 homers and 75 RBI.
“We believe that he’s going to fit in really well in our clubhouse,” Friedman said. “It sounds like he’s extremely happy about being here, being a Ray, and he knows he’s going to be welcomed into our clubhouse. But yeah, I think it’s safe to say we did a lot of work on it, talked to a lot of people and felt comfortable that it’s a calculated risk on a good player that we feel like can help us and fit in really well in our environment.”
Here’s the bottom line, if you can’t play for Joe Maddon, you can’t play in the big leagues.
So as the disco diva Donna sang:
Last dance for love
Yes, it’s my last chance
For romance tonight
Oh-ho, I need you by me
Beside me, to guide me
To hold me, to scold me
‘Cause when I’m bad
I’m so, so bad
So let’s dance the last dance
Let’s dance the last dance
Let’s dance the last dance tonight