With the Tampa Bay Rays losing, Ben Zobrist is available to be acquired. That doesn’t mean that a deal will necessarily fall into place–the Rays value Zobrist immensely and would love to find a way to keep him around. At the same time, however, if they are offered the right package of players, Zobrist will be calling another place home for the first time in his major league career. You will hear about the Ben Zobrist trade rumors everywhere, and it is understandable why. He is extremely versatile, and while he is not quite the presence at the plate that he used to be, he is still a switch-hitter with an average overall bat. What contender would not want to add a player like Zobrist onto their roster if the opportunity arose? That is the question we will hope to answer right now as we’ll go team by team and see whether Zobrist could help each one.
The Braves have received underwhelming production at both second and third base, and Zobrist would instantly make that situation a little better. He would also be available to receive occasional starts in the outfield.
I might as well copy and paste the previous paragraph because the O’s have also faced issues at second and third base. Zobrist would certainly help.
The fit is a little less obvious here, but the Indians have seen Nick Swisher and Ryan Raburn struggle immensely, and they also wouldn’t mind an upgrade over David Murphy. The Indians could definitely make room for Zobrist.
Even if Eugenio Suarez holds down shortstop, the Detroit outfield has been underwhelming, and Zobrist would be an improvement.
Kansas City Royals
Here are the positions where the Royals have received below-average production: first base, second base, third base, right field, and DH. Zobrist isn’t particularly comfortable playing the corner infield spots, but he can certainly help at second base and right field (with Omar Infante possibly sliding to third if the Royals so desire). It’s hard to find a better fit for Zobrist than Kansas City.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
David Freese and Grant Green are not exactly an ideal third base combination, and Raul Ibanez is gone at designated hitter. Zobrist would rather not play third base, but both him and Howie Kendrick have some experience at the position and the Angels would find a way to figure it out.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers may not be crazy about acquiring Zobrist, but he still would be an improvement. Juan Uribe and Hanley Ramirez have been dealing with injuries, and Zobrist could spell both them and Andre Ethier. Dee Gordon has also struggled against left-handed pitching, and Zobrist could occasionally replace him as well. The Dodgers would have to creative to find Zobrist his at-bats, but they could make it work.
Adeiny Hechavarria was terrible at the plate before getting hurt, and the Marlins also need outfield help with Christian Yelich out. The Marlins are the first team we’ve seen that would consider making Zobrist their starting shortstop.
Jean Segura hasn’t hit much, and then there’s the matter of first base, where Lyle Overbay and Mark Reynolds have combined for a less-than-ideal platoon. The Brewers could have Zobrist play first base and a little bit of everywhere else or move Khris Davis to first and shore up their defensive outfield. Davis hasn’t yet played first base as a professional (and it would be super confusing to have both him and Chris Davis playing first base), but it would be an interesting scenario for the Brewers to consider.
New York Yankees
The Yankees could use some help at the middle infield spots, right field, and DH. They would love to get their hands on Ben Zobrist.
The A’s have a few problem spots, but the bottom line is that nothing is happening for them at second base right now and Zobrist would slot in as their starter there.
Brad Miller and the entire outfield has been downright mediocre for Seattle. Zobrist could help them at any number of spots.
San Francisco Giants
Brandon Hicks has not done much at second base (although prospect Joe Panik was just promoted), and Angel Pagan is currently hurt in the outfield. If the Giants don’t like what they see from Panik, Zobrist could be their best option for a starting second baseman on the market.
St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays
Is Steve Tolleson really the answer at second base for Toronto? Maybe he will be if the Blue Jays can’t find someone better, but they would love to add Zobrist as their regular second baseman.
Danny Espinosa continues to struggle and the entire outfield has been quite mediocre at the plate. The Nationals will get Bryce Harper back off the DL, but that doesn’t mean that Zobrist wouldn’t give their team even more of a boost.
Not every contender in baseball will be aggressively pursuing Ben Zobrist, but all of them who would love to acquire him at the right price. The Rays’ demands will eliminate quite a few teams from being legitimate suitors, but if a team ever says that Zobrist “wasn’t a fit,” they’re lying. It would take creativity in some cases, but he could literally help every contender in baseball. With so many teams as options, the Ben Zobrist trade rumors will be swirling and the Rays could wind up with quite a return. The Rays love Zobrist, but with the market so clearly in their favor in this situation, it would be a major surprise if Zobrist is still wearing their uniform when the trade deadline comes around.