The Tampa Bay Rays haven’t quite waved the white flag on the 2014 season. That moment will come soon, pending a spectacular change due to the work of a Seminole Medicine Man recently brought in by manager Joe Maddon.
With a 24-40 record and a surprisingly stranglehold on the bottom spot of most MLB Power Rankings, the Rays figure to be sellers in a trade market that appears that it will favor sellers. It just so happens that they have the players to offer to contending teams, or hopeful teams, in exchange for prospects to replenish their already talented farm system.
One such player would be versatile infielder Ben Zobrist. Given his all-around ability, he would rank the near top of many teams’ wish lists. Chief among them might be the St. Louis Cardinals.
The switch-hitting Zobrist isn’t a slugger, per se. But he has a career .431 slugging percentage, and is a capable presence that has started games at every infield position (excluding pitcher and catcher) and all three OF positions in his career with most of the starts coming at 2B, RF and SS… He’d provide attractive flexibility in a Cards offense that has many moving pieces. And Zobrist had a reasonable $7.5 million option for 2015.
The Cardinals have the prospects and the financial flexibility to make a number of deals work, some that would surely grab more headlines than a potential deal for Zobrist. Then again, given his production and his salary, a deal for the 33-year-old would be a smart baseball move.
If you haven’t noticed by now, smart baseball moves are kind of their thing in St. Louis.