The Athletics appear to be engaged in “deep” discussions on utilityman Ben Zobrist, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports on Twitter. A deal could come together soon for the veteran rental piece, per the report.
Recent sales of Scott Kazmir and Tyler Clippard have placed Zobrist squarely on the block for Oakland, and we heard yesterday that he was likely the next piece to be moved. That’s not a major surprise, but one interesting development on the A’s side is the team’s decision to pursue lower-level minor leaguers in its two prior deals. GM Billy Beane cited the Astros model of stockpiling young talent in discussing his recent trades.
Zobrist has drawn interest from a wide array of teams, which is not surprising given his long track record of production, exceptional versatility, and affordable salary ($7.5MM this year). The 34-year-old will become a free agent after the year and looks like an amply reasonable qualifying offer candidate, so the return will presumably need to beat whatever value the A’s place on the draft pick they’d stand to recoup (assuming an offer would be extended and rejected).
Since an injury-filled and less-than-impressive start to the year, Zobrist has turned things on of late. All told, he’s slashing .268/.354/.447, good for a 122 OPS+ with half of his games being played in the O.co Coliseum. Though he has drawn unusually negative defensive ratings from UZR and Defensive Runs Saved, teams will probably place more stock in his history and current scouting reports.
Among the teams named as possible suitors, per recent reports, are the Royals, Nationals, Pirates, Yankees, and Cubs. The Mets had been seen as a possible trade partner, but seemingly passed on that opportunity in dealing for other infield and outfield options before nabbing Clippard yesterday.
Mystery team? Wouldn’t be a trade deadline without one.
There are problem many, many, players with Zobrist’s stat line. Teams are putting more stock in his history and current scouting reports for a previously injury proned player? I don’t get the big deal with this guy. His history includes “negative defensive ratings from UZR and Defensive Runs Saved” Much ado about nothing.
There are many, many guys that OPS .800 and can play every position with on the field except pitcher and catcher, and that are rentals on selling team? Show me the way Petco!
Can play every position but has a negative defensive rating and DSR. Hmm, not a good selling point Brixton.
If a guy can play 6 different positions all at slightly below average levels, every team will take that, Considering there probably isn’t a team in baseball where every guy is above average defensively. Zobrist’s ability to play every position at a passable level and his bat, plus is strange WAR is what makes him so valuable.
What are you talking about? Zobrist has net positive defensive value every single year of his career. The only exception is the 67 games he’s played in 2015.
The numbers you are bringing up unanimously favor Zobrist.
Ben Zobrist has never, ever, ever, ever been injury prone. He made his first trip to the DL this season.
Baseball’s not always about stats my man
Not about stats? Tell that to all the sabermetricians. Aren’t UZR and DRS considered?
There’s stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet dude
If you’re trying to make this conversation about advanced stats, then Zobrist is clearly a gem. He’s a top-10 WAR player in the last 3 years.
There are reasons not to like him, but advanced stats are not among those reasons.
Rosenthal says Royals are pushing strongly. Interesting. Infante replacement?
edit: deal is done
Zobrist to the Royals