Ben Zobrist is the Mets’ “No. 1 target” this offseason, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). The Nationals, Braves, and Giants are also among the leading teams for Zobrist. The Royals, meanwhile, are not expected to offer the same type of money that those other clubs are.
Rosenthal adds that the veteran’s market is likely to become more defined over the next few days. Zobrist is seeking a four-year deal and a club’s willingness to go from three to four years will “likely be [the] deciding factor” for the veteran, per Rosenthal. Recently, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that there are as many as 20 teams with interest in the versatile switch-hitter and he listed the Cardinals as one of the most interested teams.
Zobrist is highly valued thanks to his incredible versatility coupled with his strong OBP. However, with his 35th birthday coming up in May, teams are understandably hesitant about giving him a four-year deal. On the plus side, however, Zobrist will not require the forfeiture of a draft pick since the midseason deal that sent him to KC made him ineligible for a qualifying offer. Earlier this offseason, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted that Zobrist would net a three-year, $51MM deal.