Yesterday, the Rays traded for Yunel Escobar, the pea-brained shortstop who was recently traded from the Blue Jays to the Marlins as part of the Marlins Massacre. In return, the Marlins get Derek Dietrich, who in addition to having a fun name to say, is a promising minor league infielder. Escobar’s reputation precedes him as an immature 30 year old with a penchant for lackadaisical play and a propensity for ignorance . (Am I being too subtle here in my feelings for the guy?) Maddon expects one thing from his players: 100% effort at all times, especially when it is running down the first baseline on a groundball that is almost certainly an out (but you never know). Word on the street is that this is one area that Escobar tends to flake out. In a way, it seems as if we traded for a homophobic version of BJ Upton. Hopefully, Maddon and Martinez will be able to keep him in line. Escobar has apparently used language and cultural barrier as an excuse in the past. With Martinez as bench coach, he won’t be able to pull that crap. What most Rays fans really want to know though is: can the man hit? He has definitely shown great potential in the past. He doesn’t strike out much, which is refreshing. His BABIP last year was only .273, so it indicates he may have been unlucky since it is so far off his career BABIP of .306. Not much in the way of power, but he seems to get a lot singles and doubles. In spite of my thrashing of his personality, I will try to keep an open mind. As long as he produces and behaves himself, I can forgive… but I never forget. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m quite forgetful. Whatever. He just better behave himself.
On to less controversial news. Congrats to our very own William Tell, Fernando Rodney, for winning this year’s GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Award for best closer. I had the pleasure of watching develop into an amazing closer in 2012. What can I say about him that hasn’t already been said? He was historically good. Dennis Eckersley good. Next year, I’m sure there will be some regression, but this is about celebrating what he did in 2012. I saw him through a 96 mph fastball followed by a devastating 79 mph breaking ball. He was known for lack of control in the past, but this year, he was on point.