Blue Jays Trade Target: The Case for Ben Zobrist


The Tampa Bay Rays have signed Asdrubal Cabrera, who we’ve highlighted as someone the Blue Jays could be looking at to fill their second base needs and bridge the gap until Devon Travis is ready. With this curious signing, the Rays are in a position to trade one of their most valuable assets- Ben Zobrist. Now, this is not to say they WILL trade him, but it certainly would make sense.

This is where Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos needs to jump in. There are few players in baseball that bring the versatility that Zobrist does. Last season, he saw time at SS, 2B, RF, CF, LF, DH. How many other players in the world can play 6 positions and end up putting up 3.9 WAR? Now, he can’t be a Gold glove caliber defender at EVERY position, but at 2B, where the Blue Jays would need him, he put up a UZR of 4.7 with 5 rPM (plus/minus Runs Saved runs above average) For comparison, Ryan Goins (the guy considered to be the better defender the Blue Jays have for 2B) out up a UZR of 1.4 and a rPM of 1 last season.

Zobrist’s  offensive contributions will tip the scale in his favor once again.

And, if you are in to that sort of thing, Steamer (at has him hitting 12 HR, 61 RBI with a line of .262/.349/.400. The fact that he solves the everyday 2B issue, can fill in if Michael Saunders follows his pattern of getting hurt, can give almost everyone on the diamond a day off and is a switch hitter makes him a hug pick up. It’s like picking up multiple players.

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One doesn’t need to work too hard to make the case that for 1 yr (and $7.5M), most clubs would benefit from bringing Zobrist aboard. The question is: What would it take? According to, “it seems reasonable to expect either a Major League ready player and perhaps a prospect in addition, or a package of three to four prospects headlined by at least one particularly well-regarded name.”

In working with this, I would suggest starting with Dioner Navarro. A reunion with Tamp Bay might be a benefit to the club. Right now, the Rays have 3 catchers on their 40 man roster: Curt Casali (30 MLB games, .167 avg), Justin O’Conner (0 MLB games), Rene Rivera (103 MLB games in 2014, .252 avg) and Bobby Wilson (2 MLB games in 2014/ 193 career, .250 avg/.209 career).

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  • The catching position is not one of depth for the Rays. By adding Navarro, they are bringing in an upgrade on offense and creating a possible tandem of Navarro and Rivera.

    Going with the expectation as stated by MLBTR, we can also include a prospect of note to seal the deal. There are a few names to include: Arik Sikula, Bobby Korecky, Gregory Infante, etc. These are just some valuable arms off the top of my head. There are more names if the package needs to be expanded. The Blue Jays would not be too comfortable giving up more than this for just one year of Zobrist, even if it is within the same division.

    Now, we have heard many times that the Blue Jays are looking to use Navarro, etc to obtain a closer. But if we look at it, this may not be the way to go. By trading for Zobrist, you are gaining a huge upgrade when there is not one of that caliber on the open market. This allows the Blue Jays to use the open market to fill the closer role, where there are several options available. Trading Navarro for Zobrist only increases salary by $2.5M, which leaves quite a bit of money for a closer.  Or, trading this package for Zobrist leaves several prospects untouched if AA is determined to trade for a closer.

    There. The case for Zobrist has been made. What do you think? Do you make this deal?