The Miami Marlins were active on Tuesday at baseball’s Winter Meetings, but it wasn’t adding players.
Instead, the team continued its trend of dropping its 2013 payroll by dealing shortstop Yunel Escobar to the neighboring Tampa Bay Rays for infield prospect Derek Dietrich.
Escobar is owed $5 million in 2013 and has a $5 million club option for each of the next two seasons, so his departure will plunge the Marlins payroll to a major league-low $38 million.
Known more for his antics than his ability, he feisty Cuban served a three-game suspension in September after displaying eye black with an anti-gay slur written in Spanish during a game against the Red Sox.
The deal comes as no surprise, as the Marlins were shopping the 30-year-old every since acquiring him in a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays last month. He hit .253 for the Blue Jays in 2012.
Miami’s void at short is expected to be filled by Adeiny Hechavarria, who was also obtained in the trade with Toronto.
Meanwhile, Dietrich, 23, hit .282 with a team-high 10 homers and 58 RBIs at Class-A Charlotte before being promoted to Double-A where he finished with a combined .279 average with 14 homers and 75 RBIs.