According to Jon Heyman, the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of several teams interested in Ben Zobrist. Heyman calls the interest “huge” and named five teams, plus said several others are involved. Zobrist’s name was mentioned for the Pirates the other day before the Aramis Ramirez deal, so that isn’t news, but the amount of teams involved could change things.
Zobrist has had a tough season, starting off slow as he was bothered by injuries. He has picked it up recently on offense(.810 OPS in July), but the defense has been well below average. He has had success in the past, so he would still be a nice piece to add. The problem now would seem to be the price involved. He’s only signed through the end of this year and with the lower stats and pro-rated amount of his $7.5M salary left, you would think that would keep the price down. However, since there are a lot of teams interested, then the Oakland A’s are going to be able to choose the best deal.
Zobrist does play some outfield, but with Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison due back, and Ramirez now in the fold, you would think that the Pirates wouldn’t be willing to give up a lot for him. Harrison will be able to play some outfield or second base if they want all three in the lineup, so he is basically a repeat of where Zobrist plays the most. In fact, this season he has only played second base and the corner outfield spots. Those seem to be fairly well covered now in Pittsburgh and even more so, once everyone is healthy.
Update: 4:22 PM: According to A’s beat writer John Hickey, the Pirates and Royals are pushing hard for Ben Zobrist, so stay tuned.
— John Hickey (@JHickey3) July 27, 2015