Aug 14, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Ben Zobrist (18) signs autographs prior to the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
5. Ben Zobrist Is Not Yet in Decline
Ben Zobrist cannot be described as young anymore. He turns 34 in May, and we are beginning to realize how much the baseball world missed out on because Zobrist didn’t find his form in the big leagues until age 27. However, whichever team has him in 2015 will only be making a one-year commitment, and there is no reason to think that he will be coming apart anytime soon.
Zobrist’s may not be a 20-homer threat anymore and he isn’t a great basestealer either. However, the rest of his offensive game stayed constant from 2013 and 2014 (and actually improved when adjusting to ballpark), and he’s still a terrific defender. Add his versatility to the package, and he is still a player that could help any team in baseball.
Following 2015, Zobrist will be a fascinating free agent case. After he has another typical Zobrist year, will a team be willing to commit to him for three years through his age-37 season? For now, however, teams are much more concerned about the Rays’ asking price on Ben Zobrist than his age. He has been an excellent player and will remain the same for at least one additional year and probably a few more after that.