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Escobar traded to D-backs for three prospects

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

BOSTON -- Despite winning four straight games to move within seven games of the first-place Indians in the American League Central heading into Friday, the Twins officially became sellers, agreeing to deal infielder Eduardo Escobar to the D-backs for Class A prospects Gabriel Maciel, Jhoan Duran and Ernie De La Trinidad.

After the game, the Twins also traded reliever Ryan Pressly to the Astros for two Double-A prospects. Third baseman Miguel Sano is expected to be called up from Triple-A Rochester to take Escobar's spot on the roster, but corresponding roster moves for Saturday have yet to be announced.

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BOSTON -- Despite winning four straight games to move within seven games of the first-place Indians in the American League Central heading into Friday, the Twins officially became sellers, agreeing to deal infielder Eduardo Escobar to the D-backs for Class A prospects Gabriel Maciel, Jhoan Duran and Ernie De La Trinidad.

After the game, the Twins also traded reliever Ryan Pressly to the Astros for two Double-A prospects. Third baseman Miguel Sano is expected to be called up from Triple-A Rochester to take Escobar's spot on the roster, but corresponding roster moves for Saturday have yet to be announced.

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It was an emotional scene postgame after the 4-3 loss in 10 innings, as manager Paul Molitor and second baseman Brian Dozier were especially close to Escobar.

"Esco, obviously, is the heart and soul of the team in a lot of ways," Molitor said. "It was emotional, no question. Press, too. Two guys who have served the Twins very well. Hopefully they'll go help those teams do what they are being brought in to do."

Tweet from @escobarmaracay: THANK YOU Minnesota! I want to say thank you to my family, Twins front office, teammates, coaches, trainers and friends who day after day supported me and challenged me to be a better baseball player, a better person. Know that the Twins will always mean a lot to me. Wearing > pic.twitter.com/PGCdgbRj4Q

Molitor was meeting with the media in the visiting manager's office at Fenway Park when news of the trade flashed across the television screen on MLB Network. It was the first Molitor had heard of the deal, which hadn't been announced by either club at that point. Twins players also found out about the trade while watching MLB Network in the clubhouse.

"It stinks," Dozier said. "Obviously, Esky and I are very close. He's one of my best friends. It just sucks when you set out to accomplish something at the beginning of the year and we aren't going to be able to do that together. That's the most disappointing part."

Escobar's teammates said he was surprised by the trade and was emotional. Molitor addressed the club before the game and thanked Escobar for all that he did with the Twins. Escobar had a plane to catch and didn't address the media before leaving Boston.

"It's tough," said veteran first baseman Joe Mauer. "He's a big part of this team on the field, in the clubhouse and in the community. It's kind of a punch in the gut right now. There are a lot of guys hurting right now. We're just trying to do our best to put it aside and win a ballgame tonight. Esky means a lot to a lot of guys in that clubhouse. It's tough to see him go."

The move is sure to be unpopular in Minnesota's clubhouse, as Escobar was the most-liked player on the team because of his humorous personality. Escobar, who has the nickname of "El Caballo," which means horse in Spanish, was constantly joking with his teammates and talking about his love for eating at Fogo de Chao.

Tweet from @Twins: Thanks for all the laughs and everything you've done for us over the years, Esky! Best of luck in Arizona. #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/15utPL7r49

"He's a guy that I've grown to love, him and his family," Gibson said. "They're great people, and I hate to see him go. Hopefully Arizona knows how good of a player they got on and off the field. He's just an upstanding citizen, loves people in the clubhouse, and his family does a lot in the community."

Twins players also feel like they still have a chance to make the postseason, much like last year when they traded lefty Jaime Garcia and closer Brandon Kintzler before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, only to make it to the AL Wild Card Game. But now, with the decision to move Escobar and Pressly, the Twins are likely to make more trades, as they have several other impending free agents, such as Dozier, Lance Lynn, Zach Duke and Fernando Rodney. Gibson, who is a free agent after next season, has also been rumored in trades.

"We kind of thought each win might delay it each day," Gibson said of the decision to sell. "Obviously, it didn't, but that's a tough roller-coaster to be on. You have the high and feeling really good about where you're going and then you have a piece of the puzzle taken out."

Escobar, who is also an impending free agent, is owed roughly $1.7 million the rest of the season. The 29-year-old is in the midst of a breakout season, leading the Majors with 37 doubles, while hitting .274/.338/.514 with 15 homers and 63 RBIs in 97 games. He's hit .258/.308/.421 with 63 homers and 138 doubles in 671 games with the Twins since being acquired from the White Sox in the trade that sent Francisco Liriano to Chicago in 2012.

"I try not to predict what can happen, but when you lose a piece like Esky, probably something is going to happen, more things can happen," said Mauer, who has a full no-trade clause. "But I try not to predict anything and go out and control the things I can control."

Maciel, 19, is the headliner and was Arizona's No. 11 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. The Brazilian switch-hitter is batting .287/.362/.333 with one homer, 10 doubles and 14 stolen bases in 68 games with Class A Kane County. Maciel is considered athletic enough to stick in center, but he lacks power, with four career homers in 180 games.

Duran, 20, has posted a 4.73 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 28 walks in 64 2/3 innings with Kane County this season. He was ranked as Arizona's No. 19 prospect, as the Dominican Republic native is considered a projectable right-hander at 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds. He possesses a power sinker that sits in the mid-90s, with a solid curveball and a developing changeup.

De La Trinidad, 22, was not among the D-backs' Top 30 prospects but is having a solid season at Kane County, hitting .311/.403/.442 with eight homers, 56 RBIs, 13 doubles and two triples in 91 games.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollingerand listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Eduardo Escobar