Ken Rosenthal shared another juicy rumor involving the Braves, claiming that they are among a handful of teams that have expressed interest in recent world champion Ben Zobrist. The longtime Ray is known as the “swiss army knife” of baseball, as he is a switch hitter that can play any position on the field besides pitcher and catcher. Think along the lines of Martin Prado, with believe it or not, more versatility.
Zobrist is one of the few major leaguers who can help virtually any team, and he makes sense for the Braves. Jace Peterson hasn’t exactly been a compelling option at second base, and Adonis Garcia is the only option we have at the hot corner assuming Hector Olivera makes the transition to the outfield, though his time at third is nowhere nearly as extensive. While surely capable of starting on this team, he would offer various platoon opportunities for the team (not that Fredi would be able to utilize them properly. Zobrist, 34, is not a cheap commodity as of now, however, and given his age is probably looking for the longest contract possible. My prediction is that he will net a contract in the neighborhood of around 3 years, $51 million. Considering that we have pretty much shredded our payroll, I would be willing pay the inflated price tag for two-time All-Star, but only for two years maximum. I love his brand of game, but considering his age, I have my doubts that he will be able to maintain his versatility into his late 30’s.
Like Jonny Gomes, Zobrist is a great clubhouse guy. What sets them apart is that Zobrist can actually still hit a baseball at this point in his career. He holds bible studies for teammates and I have never heard anyone in the industry have a negative thing to say about the guy. Considering he has been traded twice in the past calendar year, Atlanta may be an unappealing option considering how they handled their veterans come trade deadline time. This rumor could also just be the Braves’ way of saying, “Hey, we aren’t tanking, look who we are interested in!” Nevertheless, I would love to see Zobrist in a Braves uniform, but it all depends on how the market plays out. He is a short term option for a rebuilding team.