Nats acquire Yunel Escobar for Tyler Clippard (updated)

The Nationals and Athletics have agreed to yet another trade. And this one involves more than just prospects or players that can fill out the back end of a roster.

clippard-white-pitching-close-sidebar.jpgThe Nats have acquired shortstop Yunel Escobar, and will send popular reliever Tyler Clippard to Oakland in exchange for the 32-year-old infielder.

CBSsports.com first reported the Nats had acquired Escboar, and MLB.com first reported Clippard was heading to Oakland.

This is now the ninth trade completed between the Nats and A’s since 2010.

Escobar has a career .276/.347/.381 slash line, but his offensive numbers his declined over the last few years. He hit .258 with a .664 OPS with the Rays in 2014, with seven homers and 39 RBIs in 137 games with the Rays. The Athletics acquired Escobar, along with Ben Zobrist, in a trade with Tampa Bay just five days ago.

A solid defensive player, Escobar is considered a league-average shortstop in the eyes of most scouts.

The Nationals will likely choose to play Escobar at second base in 2015 (although his only experience at second as a major leaguer came all the way back in 2007, when he played in 21 games there with the Braves), and then have him as insurance at shortstop should Ian Desmond depart via free agency after this season.

Escobar will make $5 million in 2015, $7 million in 2016 and his contract also carries a $7 million team option for 2017.

He could potentially be a bridge to minor leaguer Trea Turner - set to be the player to be named in the Steven Souza Jr. trade - who the Nats will acquire from the Padres in July. Turner is viewed as the Nats’ shortstop of the future, but is just 21 and to this point has minimal professional experience.

Clippard came to the Nats in December 2007 in a trade that sent reliever Jonathan Albaladejo to the Yankees. In seven years with the Nationals, the righty went 34-24 with a 2.68 ERA and 34 saves, 32 of which came in 2012. Clippard was a durable, consistent force out of the Nats’ bullpen, averaging 74 appearances per season over the last five years, and became a fan favorite in D.C. and a favorite of many teammates in the clubhouse.

He’s the only reliever to appear in more than 70 games in each of the last five seasons.

Going into his final year of arbitration eligibility, Clippard will likely make around $9 million in 2015, a large sum for a set-up man. He is set to become a free agent next offseason.

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