The Nationals have reached out to the Athletics to express preliminary interest in super-utilityman Ben Zobrist, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link). The teams do not appear to be nearing anything, per the report.
The idea behind the Nats’ interest, it would seem, is fairly straightforward: Zobrist would be expected to slot in at left field for Washington in the near term, filling in for the injured Jayson Werth. Then, he’d be available all around the diamond when Werth returns.
Further, the versatile Zobrist would function as something of a general insurance policy for the rest of the season. Denard Span and Anthony Rendon have both battled fairly notable maladies of late, though they’re both healthy and active now, and injuries can of course pop up at any time with any player. Having Zobrist on hand would mean the team could mix and match as needed while still maintaining productivity across the lineup.
It is worth bearing in mind that general managers Mike Rizzo and Billy Beane have matched up quite a bit on deals in recent years. Of course, many other teams have similar reasons for interest in Zobrist, who has been among the game’s most productive all-around players while spending time all over the field. There will be no shortage of suitors, some of whom (like the Nationals) may be interested in striking a deal early, which should obviously be good for the Athletics.
If you’re looking for even more granular reasons that Washington would be motivated to add a fairly premium piece like Zobrist, despite having reasonable options at the positions in question, remember that youngster Michael Taylor — who has seen quite a bit of action filling in for Span and now Werth — entered the year with 37 days of MLB service under his belt and has been up for much of the season. An opportunity to send him back down for an extended stretch could be enough for D.C. to gain an extra year of control, which would reduce the sting of losing the young talent required to pry loose Zobrist (or some other Werth fill-in).
Zobrist has long made sense for the Nationals in some form or another: I suggested they could pursue him last summer (before they added Asdrubal Cabrera) and thought an offseason deal could also have materialized (which, indeed, Washington did consider to at least some extent). But that was before the team added Yunel Escobar and went on to witness a rebirth of Danny Espinosa. To be sure, the idea of gaining a temporary outfield replacement, highly valuable utility piece, and down-the-line infield injury protection in one fell swoop is tantalizing in its own right. But the addition of Zobrist would also theoretically free the team to trade Ian Desmond, who was reportedly rather aggressively shopped to the Mariners over the winter.
It’s going to be a fun hot stove season, A’s fans.
We’ll see Beane restock the mid and low minors a bit and likely have a few seasons of high round draft choices. Always interesting to watch.
Seasons? They aren’t even bad this year: 4th in offense, 4th in SP.
He could punt this one and contend next year or he even might look to add – no one can guess his moves, ever.
OK, true..but they are last in the west at this point over 10 games under…and they probably sell for prospects at the deadline. I know better than to count them out, but I know Beane will value picks, especially if he might lose an extra one dealing Zobrist. I wasn’t being unrealistic by suggesting this season and possibly next could be rough….that’s the breaks of the game…and Beane isn’t immune. He’s had dry spells. I’m not trying to be overly negative…the division has improved as well.
They are most definitely bad in the field….dead last in errors…4th when measuring era, and 5th in team batting average. So yeah…they catch the ball they improve some record wise…but who are they dealing to add? What it looks like if this continues they deal Kazmir and Zobrist who are holding up some of these numbers. I’m not saying Beane straight punts….but he’s going to value a high draft slot. He can build in December just as well as August.
High Boskage run by famous analyst Eric Walker is still projecting 94 wins for Oakland based on their statistical performance…. So they do have some elastic bounce back in them. About as much correction in them upward as Minnesota has downward.
Beane and Rizzo make effective trades together. I feel comfortable that there won’t be any egregious mistake made, but the Nats also aren’t going to get away with a Joe Roos/Trea Turner for Souza, Jr., either.
Rizzo has to be kicking himself on that Burns for Blevins–>den Dekker deal. Oof, bad trade, especially now with the Nats needing OFs.
Beane’s going to have to be blown away with an offer due to what he gave up to get Zobrist, which could be irrelevant, but they’d be surrendering a first round pick if they traded him since there’s zero chance Zobrist doesn’t get offered a QO
Exactly: the Nats are going to have to offer Giolito because the A’s would lose their 1st rd pick if they trade him. Not happening. Cubs and Yankees are a better fit for Zobrist, but even still A’s might just keep him if they cant get a 1st round draft pick-level of talent in return.
theo in 2016
the a’s dont lose a first round pick, they just dont get the compensation pick, which is after the first round…
which is still considered a first round pick
theo in 2016
with a letter after it
There isn’t snowball’s chance someplace REALLY hot that the Nats would give-up the top right-handed pitching prospect in all of baseball for a fill-in utility piece, you’ve lost your mind.
What part of “not happening” did you not understand?
Mets and braves fans shudder.
Mets and braves fans shudder.
1 Giolito, please.
I wish, but that would never happen.
That will never happen….I am guessing you are saying that tongue in cheek…
You’re not going to get a Top 5 prospect from the Nats or anyone else for an aging, fill-in utility player.
theo in 2016
Im sure 15 teams have checked in on zobrist
Yanks offer A’s Lindgren, Refsnyder, and Mitchell for Zorbrist and Clippard. Both are rentals.
Another team could easily beat that offer.
Who would the A’s get back for Zobrist?
theo in 2016
Top 100 + top 200 maybe add a lottery ticket
I don’t think the lottery ticket would be necessary.
theo in 2016
Lots of teams want him so i think it will be neccasary
There will be enough genuine interest to likely get something decent back. Maybe 15 teams kick the tires and 3 show up ready to wheel and deal
Beene gave up Robertson, Jaso and Powell for Zobrist and Escobar.. Then sent Escobar to the Nats.. Seeing as how half the baseball world seems to be chasing Zobrist now it looks like Beene made a heck of a move.. Maybe the Nats should have picked him up in the offseason.. If the Nats end up with both players for a higher cost than what Beene paid for them it will hurt.. Plus, they could have gave him the QO and ended up with yet another pick..
Zobrist is a pending FA, has been injured, and has been in decline. It remains to be seen if any of the teams chasing him will be willing to give up a prospect as good as Robertson who was the A’s top prospect at the time of the trade
Every single player over 30 could be said to be in decline, that’s meaningless when talking about a team desperate to upgrade for a possible postseason run.
his pedigree is enough to warrant a fairly decent haul
Robertson is a good prospect, but he was only their top prospect because of the trades Beene made last year..
did you look at what Robertson did while in the A’s org playing SS and being vastly underage?
Yes, I have been following Robertson since the A’s drafted him and Russell in the same year.. He is still a prospect and that is all he is right now..
A’s are going to clean up in the bidding war for Zobrist. Great trade they made in the offseason to put themselves in this position. All hail Beane.
Everyone wants Zobrist, what is he worth since he’s a rental.
Don’t see a matchup between the A’s and Nats on Zobrist: Nats just don’t have anything the A’s might want or need. Keep in mind the A’s traded their post-Addison Russell #1 prospect in Daniel Robertson to get Zobrist. They will want more than the Nats would want to give up.
The Yankees on the other hand, have Aaron Judge – a local Northern Californian guy who was drafted by Oakland first but didn’t sign. That’s a guy the A’s would want.
I dont see the Yankees giving up Judge for half a season of Zobrist
Imo thats not the kid of guy Billy takes.
The a’s need an elite infield prospect, it’s as simple as that.
Slightly Biased A's Fan
Franklin Baretto has looked the part recently
I would add Chad Pinder to that list too…he just needs to show consistent health
The Nats have the most Top 100 prospects in baseball once Trea Turner becomes Nats property on June 14th, so they’ve got plenty of prospects the A’s could use, but the Nats see Zobrist as a non-starter once Werth returns from injury (targeting Aug. 1 at the earliest), so I seriously doubt Rizzo is going to surrender any of the Nats Top 5 or 6 prospects for a bench help rental player.
Beane will have to look elsewhere if he wants a big return for Zobrist.
theo in 2016
lottery ticket isnt a good prospect just tools
Yea It would be one probably good prospect ( back half of top 100 I assume) a decent guy in the top 200 range. A lottery guy is someone young who might not even be on a teams top 30