The Washington Nationals have acquired infielder Yunel Escobar from the Oakland Athletics for right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Clippard, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first mentioned.
Escobar was just acquired by the Athletics this past weekend from the Rays in the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to Oakland, but Billy Beane and the front office flipped him for Clippard, a nice piece at the back end of their bullpen. Clippard will help set up for closer Sean Doolittle, along with Eric O'Flaherty. The Athletics' bullpen was relatively thin and Clippard will be a nice addition to the group.
The Nationals have needed a second baseman for some time now, and it appears that they have found their man with Yunel Escobar. While Escobar has only limited time at second, the Nationals have a need for second baseman and already have Ian Desmond at shortstop. However, if the Nationals were to trade Ian Desmond (and they have been in rumored talks), Escobar would serve as a good back-up plan.
The 32-year-old Escobar hit .258/.324/.340 with seven home runs and 39 runs batted in over 529 plate appearances with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014. He had a 92 Adjusted OPS+. Being both below-average on offense and defense last season, Escobar was worth 0.2 fWAR. He will likely be the starting second baseman over Danny Espinosa in 2015.
Clippard, 30 in February, went 7-4 with a 2.18 ERA, 0.995 WHIP, and a 2.75 FIP last season. He posted a K/9 ratio of 10.5 and a BB/9 ratio of 2.9, working to his second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his career. Clippard struck out 3.57 hitters for every walk last season.
It has been an interesting offseason for the Athletics, who have made a lot of moves in both favor of contending and rebuilding. As for the Nationals, they have been relatively quiet this offseason, not making any major moves up to this point, but could still swing a blockbuster trade here in the last month of the Hot Stove season.