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Rays trade Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to A's

One shortstop and another quasi-shortstop come off the board.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland A's have acquired Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Rays for John Jaso, Daniel Robertson, and Boog Powell.

For Oakland, this is the latest of moves in an extremely active offseason that has seen a great deal of last year's Wild Card team turned over. Escobar is coming off a down year, but is controlled at very reasonable salaries until 2017 and put up 3.9 fWAR in 2013. He figures to be the A's new starting shortstop.

The versatile Zobrist is a pure rental, making only $7.5 million this season before hitting free agency in 2016. A star player by fWAR since 2009, Zobrist will likely see time in the outfield and serve as insurance for prospect Marcus Semien (acquired from the White Sox for Jeff Samardzija) at second base.

The Rays clear out their middle infield logjam, where they still have Nick Franklin, Logan Forsythe, and the newly signed Asdrubal Cabrera. Former top prospect Hak-Ju Lee could also be a factor, and is looking to bounce back in Triple-A. Jaso is a solid left-handed platoon bat who will mainly serve as designated hitter but can also catch in a pinch, and Boog Powell is an intriguing outfielder (with an 80-grade name), but Robertson is the true prize of this deal. The 20-year- old 2012 first round pick hit .310/.402/.471 with a 132 wRC+ in High-A ball in 2014, and is expected to stick at shortstop. He was Oakland's top prospect and viewed as their long-term answer at the position in the wake of the Addison Russell trade.

For the Mets, this removes a couple potential shortstop trade targets, though neither Escobar nor Zobrist was a great fit; the former was likely not much of an upgrade, and the latter is not a true shortstop. The chances of entering the season with Wilmer Flores as their starting shortstop rise by the day.