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News and Notes: A's and Rays make blockbuster trade

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Looking at a surprising blockbuster trade between the Rays and the Athletics, and Pedro Martinez celebrates his Hall election in his native land.

Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, winter took its time showing up in Northeast Ohio, but over the last week or so it has announced its presence with authority (to paraphrase a quote from a famous baseball film). I'm not sure what it is about nasty winter weather that makes you pine for baseball, but it most assuredly has that effect. Rogers Hornsby said this about the winter months:

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."

None of us (or at least, I hope none of us) actually stare out the window waiting for the winter to be over; even Hornsby probably didn't even do that. There are things to occupy our pastime time in the offseason, whether it be books or music or movies or Internet Drama or even other sports. But those things are an ill fit for the baseball-shaped void within us. So we spend our time with those other things, but also keep an eye on anything, anything to do with baseball. Hopefully this rundown of news on this cold winter Sunday will help.

MLB News

A's acquire Zobrist and Escobar for Jaso, Robertson, and Powell - Athletics Nation

Athletics close to acquiring Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar - DRaysBay

The final deal was this:

Athletics Receive:

2B Ben Zobrist

SS Yunel Escobar

Rays Receive:

SS Daniel Robertson

OF Boog Powell

C John Jaso

In one stroke the A's fill what had been a gaping hole in the middle infield. Zobrist, who years has been one of the best players in baseball, would primarily be the second baseman, while Escobar would fill the void at shortstop. The team that the Indians opened against last April is essentially no longer there. Gone is Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Derek Norris, Yoenis Cespedes, and many others. In its place is what appears to be another contending club, as crazy as that may have seemed even a couple weeks ago.

As for the Rays, this continues a slow-motion rebuild that started back in July when they traded David Price and really started in earnest after both GM Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon left. They had just signed LGFT Asdrubal Cabrera, and undoubtedly had this trade (or something similar) in mind. Cabrera will start either at second base or shortstop for the Rays in 2015, and probably leave after that. Robertson was the big piece in the deal - he's one of the better prospects in baseball, though he probably won't end up at shortstop. Jaso, who's been a good part-time C/1B/DH for the last couple years, should fill the same role for the Rays (he was actually drafted by  Tampa Bay in 2003).

Pedro receives Hall-worthy welcome in Dominican Republic | MLB.com

Pedro Martinez is honored by his native country for his election to the Hall of Fame. Something that struck in the article: Pedro will be only the second Dominican to enter the Hall. Juan Marichal, until this year was only Dominican in the Hall of Fame.  I guess that shows how "recent" the surge of players from the Dominican Republic is.