Pirates One of Several Teams Interested in Zobrist

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.

  • Why exactly do Pirates need a Super Utility guy, when they have Harrison coming back from injury next month and Ramirez at 3B? Especially now that Polanco and Walker are hitting, and Pirates face so few LH SP’s.

    Something isn’t adding up to me, unless it’s part of a plan to replace existing ML player(s), too. If he is being acquired to replace Serpico, exactly how much value does that bring to team? Certainly not enough to make a difference in Division title chase.

    • There isn’t a player on this planet that alone is going to make an appreciable difference in a division title race down 6.5 games to a +.600 ballclub with two months to play.

      Being that Zobrist is a better baseball player than all of Harrison, Ramirez, Polanco, and Walker the move would simply be intended to make the club better for playoff competition.

      Also probably helps that Beane has stated he’s interested in lower level prospects this trade season when others are looking for MLB or MLB-ready talent.

      • Scott Kliesen
        July 28, 2015 12:42 pm

        The best reason I can see for acquiring Zobrist is to face either MadBum or Kershaw. Likelihood of facing one or both of these two in playoffs is good.

        As for displacing one of Pirates regulars to face RH SP, not seeing it.

  • I certainly hope that we can do better then Zobrist.

  • There’s enough offense here. How the team constructs it pitching staff is the only thing that matters now. We’ve seen this team step up in big games and get big hits. I was in attendance at the STL series. We need a starter. It’s time to go get a top 3 starter. These rentals are pretty cheap in my opinion. We could have offered better packages for Cueto and Kazmir than what their old teams got. Lets solidify this rotation and get a 7th inning man. Like Samardzija and Ziegler or something similar

  • I would rather hope Mercer and Harrison take a miracle drug and get back soon.

  • Zobrist is old news and not a value add at this point.
    What could be significant is if the team looks to add an IMPACT reliever for a playoff chase.
    Papelbon and Mike Dunne are two strong relievers posting very strong seasons with good career numbers and on teams that the Bucs have made trades with relievers before. Both would be good buys for a push.

    • Mike Dunn is below replacement value this year mostly due to his huge HR/FB ratio…no thank you to that. And I want nothing to do with Papelbon.

    • I agree with your opinion on Zobrist but Papelbon doesn’t fit the Pirate need for a middle reliever. He would moan every time he gets called to finish a 6th inning.

      • Not only that but I believe he has a no trade clause and would block a trade to a team he doesn’t close for. But if he’s as serious to get out of Philly as he sounds (and trust me he is), go somewhere as the set up man and try and win like you’ve been talking about. I live in Philly so I’d be very happy if he’s traded. I’m incredibly tired of hearing about him. His stupid sound bites, fan reaction.

        • Yeah, Paps would not be a good fit here. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cards try to work something out. Rosie has looked less than invincible of late. But they’ll probably take Kimbrel ahead of Paps if they decide to add a name brand reliever.

        • tricky contract phils would need to eat some money, I would like mcgee a leftie from rays and give up more talent to get than paplebon.

  • According to Jayson Stark (tweet @jaysonst):
    “#Pirates telling teams they’re likely to keep Pedro Alvarez – which would effectively end their hunt for other 1B upgrades”

    I doubt that ends our hunt for 1B help, just for a permanent 1B. We will and should, I would hope, look for someone like Napoli to serve as the RH side and take Pedro out versus lefties. Maybe Zobrist could do that as well…

    • If they can’t find an upgrade to the RH side of the platoon it would be tantamount to not even trying. Literally.

      • Im on the Napoli bandwagon. Like what he’s doing at the plate currently, like his championship experience, like his success against lefties and that he can actually play 1B decently well defensively.

  • I am interested in Zobrist if he’s a 1B and occasional corner OF. However, he hasn’t played a lot of first for awhile and we do not need him, after Ramirez, to play the infield, especially once JayHay and Mercer return. IF they believe he can be a 1B, his bat would be welcomed and his versatility as well.

  • Always saw him as a Pirate signing. I would rather acquire Forsythe though.

  • It may take an overpay to get Zobrist but he’s a valuable guy to have cause he plays all over the field. He still has an OBP almost 100 points higher than his average so he get gets on at a very good clip.

  • There is a reason teams like the Yankees are interested in Sobrist. The Pirates have the minor league players to make this deal. The only protected players are Glasnow, Taillon, Bell, and catchers McGuire A+ and Diaz at AAA.

    • I’d like to think Hanson and Meadows aren’t going anywhere either.

      • I think Meadows is untouchable. I wonder if they’d part with Hanson though for a team that wants “major league ready” talent. That being said, unless they go after Price or an above average first basemen I think he’ll be with the team post 7/31. I guess it also depends on what they think of Moroff. If they think Moroff is almost as good (not that I do) then you could part with Hanson and put Kang at 2nd hypothetically.

        • I really like Hanson’s ceiling though. Moroff and Adam Frazier are both looking great in AA and could be valuable contributors in the near future but I still think Hanson has the look of a perennial all star.

          • I don’t think they’re going to part with Hanson because I don’t think they’re going to acquire a front end starter. And I think that would be the only reason you part with Hanson. Hanson won’t be in a package for any reliever. I get on Walker’s case sometimes but I think he’ll be missed. That being said the speed of Hanson, Harrison, Polanco, Marte and Cutch is something to dream on.

            • I think people might miss Walker while Hanson has growing pains in the bigs, but his range will be neat to watch in comparison to Walker.

              • Haven’t really been paying attention to the Cubs but is that what’s happening to them? Lot’s of growing pains? Just by looking at the box score the averages and OPS’s are well off what they were when the Pirates last played them. Not that I wouldn’t be thrilled to have Bryant, Russell, Soler, etc.

                • I suppose its really subjective to assume its youthful growing pains, but they went from middle of the pack offensive numbers most of the year to bad the entire month of July. Could be just a down month, but their high K rate doesnt help them avoid droughts.

                  I dont watch live a ton of their games, but what i have seen seems like young guys hitting some inconsistency and those who already K too much struggling to adjust out of inconsistencies.

      • Especially for a guy like Zobrist.

  • How does his defense compare to Sean Rodriguez’s? I mean that’s who he’d be replacing right?

  • Not sure I’d want to pay the freight for a piece that seems redundant for what they already have.

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      July 27, 2015 2:15 pm

      I agree….we need two quality bullpen arms more than another utility guy..

  • Was watching MLB.tv last night and they cut to Giants/A’s game just in time for me to see Zobrist boot a routine grounder.