Just when it seemed like we had exhausted every possible shortstop target for the Mets this offseason, a new one pops up. Jon Morosi floated the idea this morning that the Rays could be looking to move Ben Zobrist, one of the most versatile and underrated players in baseball.
Even though his power isn't what it used to be, Zobrist still hit .272/.354/.395 for the Rays last season while playing multiple positions and putting together a 5.7 fWAR. It was the fourth season in a row that Zobrist was worth at least five wins and the sixth in a row in which he appeared in at least 150 games.
Those facts make Zobrist's $7.5 million price tag in 2015 more than affordable, but the Rays could look to deal him in July if they find themselves on the outside of the playoff race.
The problem with Zobrist is that he's never been a full-time shortstop. He has posted positive defensive numbers throughout his career, but a lot of that comes from his play in right and left field, where he is less valuable as a hitter. At shortstop, Zobrist started just 81 games combined over the past three seasons. The most he's played there is 50 starts during his rookie season.
Even in limited capacity, Zobrist could still help the Mets' shortstop situation while filling in at other spots the rest of the time. Plus, his cost—in the form of prospects—wouldn't be too high given that the Rays will likely be saying goodbye to him after 2015. Perhaps the biggest issue is acquiring a player that Mets ownership might not be able to afford beyond next season.