Updates from Wednesday, July 30
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN provides an update on the likelihood of the Rays completing a trade:
One exec whose team talked to #rays Tuesday got a strong sense they won't be moving anybody significant at deadline.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) July 30, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 28
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports 1 reports on an NL team showing interest in Ben Zobrist ahead of this summer's trade deadline:
Giants remain interested in Zobrist despite giving up 2 prospects in Peavy deal. Giants had 2 scouts watching Rays this weekend.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2014
Updates from Sunday, July 20
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reports one team in the AL East considering Ben Zobrist this Summer:
Word is the Blue Jays are in on everyone, from David Price to Hamels to Ben Zobrist and Chase Utley. 'They’ve got their scouts looking at everyone, and [GM Alex] Anthopoulos is very active himself scouting,' said one AL special adviser.
Updates from Thursday, July 17
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provides the latest Ben Zobrist buzz:
According to Jon Morosi of FOXsports.com, Seattle also has talked about the Rays' superstar pitcher David Price as well as Zobrist, and such a combo certainly would transform the Mariners. However, to this point, Zobrist has been the main focus of the talks, with those discussions going on for weeks, league sources say.
Younger utilityman Nick Franklin is someone who's come up in talks with the Rays, and he'd fit Tampa as someone who might be able to do some of the things Zobrist does. He is from Orlando, and wouldn't mind such a move home.
Ben Zobrist has been one of the more valuable players in baseball over the past few years, which makes it no surprise teams across the league are looking to add him before the 2014 MLB trade deadline.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports 1 reports that the Seattle Mariners are the latest team interested in acquiring the Tampa Bay Rays utility man:
Mariners are having ongoing trade discussions with Rays regarding David Price and Ben Zobrist, sources say. No deal imminent. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 17, 2014
Mariners' talks regarding Price and Zobrist come at a time when progress has stalled in their efforts to acquire Marlon Byrd. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 17, 2014
While this deal would make sense for a team that desperately needs to add a bat to keep up in the American League playoff race, the squad will have some serious competition. As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports, "The Giants are considered atop the teams most interested in 2B/RF Ben Zobrist; the Reds and Mariners among others."
Chris Haft and Ryan Hood of MLB.com note that San Francisco would love to have either Zobrist or ace pitcher David Price, and some recent scouting indicates that a move is possible:
The already active speculation about the Giants' interest in Tampa Bay handyman Ben Zobrist has increased. [...]
The Rays are believed to have scouted the Giants' Double-A Richmond affiliate thoroughly, adding to the Zobrist/Price speculation.
San Francisco second baseman Marco Scutaro has battled chronic back issues, and the team has struggled to fill his spot. Zobrist could be a quality option.
Despite a relatively down year, the assorted interest in Zobrist is completely justified. The switch-hitter knows how to help his team with his .352 on-base percentage to counter the fact he has just six home runs at the All-Star break.
Although you can blame the constant trade talk for a relatively low .266 batting average and little power, he explained that he simply needs to push through the dog days of summer, via Topkin:
I'm just searching a little bit. I've been searching for a while. At some point, it's got to come around. It always does. But obviously it's late June. It's a battling time. You've got to keep battling. Whether things are going well with the team or not well, you have to keep working hard and trust that it's going to come around.
No matter what he does at the plate, the two-time All-Star helps out as an above-average fielder at multiple positions. In 2014, Zobrist has started games at second base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots. In his career, he has played every position except pitcher and catcher.
ESPN's Jim Bowden argues why this would make him a great addition for the Cincinnati Reds:
Ben Zobrist would be perfect for Reds because he could play 1B 2B and LF while they wait for Phillips & Votto to return & Ludwick to hit— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 14, 2014
No matter where he lands, the new manager will be able to find a role for him somewhere on the field to help the organization. Of course, you can expect this high demand to drive the price up for any deal to be finalized.
At 33 years old, Zobrist still has upside. He also can remain under team control through the 2015 season on a reasonable $7.5 million team option. For a contending team in need, he could be a huge asset down the stretch.
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