Billy Beane is reportedly closing in on a deal for both of the Rays' starting middle infielders: Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar.
The Rays recently agreed to terms with top free agent middle infielder Asdrubal Cabrera for a $7.5M contract, which we speculated could lead to a trade of Zobrist and Escobar earlier this week. That deal now seems close to fruition, according to Susan Slusser.
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
Should both players be dealt, presuming the Rays do not receive middle infielders in return, the Rays starting positions would slot to Asdrubal Cabrera at short stop, and a platoon of Nick Franklin and Logan Forsythe at second base.
The Athletics reportedly claimed Yunel Escobar on revokable trade waivers last fall, but Escobar was rumored to have requested to not be traded, preferring to play for Joe Maddon.
What the Rays will get in return has yet to be determined. Rumored names are former Rays catcher John Jaso (previously traded under Andrew Friedman for a reliever), top A's prospect Daniel Robertson (who does not have a determined defensive position), and A-ball outfielder Boog Powell (twitter links 1, 2, 3).