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Nationals trade Tyler Clippard to A's for Yunel Escobar

What does this mean for Ian Desmond?

Yunel Escobar.
Yunel Escobar.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully, Yunel Escobar had a chance to visit the Oakland Zoo (now with 660 animals!) in his four days with the A's.

On Tuesday night, the A's traded Escobar to the Nationals for relief pitcher Tyler Clippard, just 96 hours after he was traded from Tampa.

Clippard, who will turn 30 next month, has appeared in at least 72 games in five consecutive seasons. A two-time All-Star, Clippard owns a career 139 ERA+ and 1.084 WHIP, including a sub-1.000 WHIP in three of the last four seasons. Clippard saved 32 games for the Nationals' first-ever playoff team in 2012. In 51 career appearances against the Mets, Clippard is 6-4 with seven saves, 79 strikeouts in 64 innings, and an even 1.000 WHIP. He is set to be a free agent after 2015.

Clippard actually had a slightly higher overall bWAR than Escobar the past two seasons at 3.3 to 3.1. This is due to Escobar's subpar 2014, in which he posted a 95 wRC+ and the first negative defensive WAR of his career. His 25 extra-base hits were the second-lowest total of his eight-season career.

Before the trade, Fangraphs projected Escobar's 2015 at .258/.324/.351 and 96 wRC+, with a slight rebound in his defensive numbers. For his career, Escobar has been outstanding against the Mets. In 50 games, he has hit .313/.404/.476, with 18 extra-base hits, and a 141 tOPS (meaning he has been 41% better against the Mets, his second best mark against any team). Escobar is due $5 million 2015 and $7 million in 2016, with a $7 million team option for 2017. He is entering his age-32 season.

Of course, the Nats' trading for a shortstop, albeit one who is not as good, will only further speculation about Ian Desmond's future in Washington. Earlier this week it was reported that Desmond and the Nationals were still not close on a contract extension. He is due $11 million in 2015, his age-29 season, after which he will be a free agent. Fangraphs projected Desmond to have a 104 wRC+ in 2015, sixth best among all shortstops, after a 2014 in which his 108 wRC+ was the fourth best.

While still among the most productive shortstops in baseball, Desmond's on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS+ have declined for two straight seasons. Like Escobar, he has posted very good numbers against the Mets in 91 games, with 17 home runs, and a batting line of .279/.333./.504 and 122 tOPS+.