The offseason is finally here.
With the Giants winning their third World Series in five years, new President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, certainly has some work to do. After the front office is taken care of, he’ll have many decisions to make on who will be added to the roster, and who will be subtracted.
As November approaches, there will be many, many rumors involving the Dodgers. They will arguably be one of the most active teams this offseason in terms of transactions. Though it’s still October, there’s already speculation about a certain player they may target.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Tampa Bay Rays may look to deal one of their most valuable players, Ben Zobrist. Cafardo feels that a Friedman-Zobrist reunion isn’t far-fetched and could be in the works, as the Rays are looking for salary relief. The Dodgers certainly have money coming off the books with Hanley Ramirez’s inevitable departure, and Zobrist could ultimately replace him. He will be owed $7.5M in 2015, assuming the Rays pick up his option. That means they’ll be looking for the Dodgers to take on the majority of that, while also giving up a player or two.
Last season, Zobrist slashed .272/.354/.395 with a 116 OPS+, which was good enough for 5.0 wins above replacement, according to Baseball Reference. He hasn’t posted a WAR lower than 4.6 since the 2008 season.
In addition to his above-average offense, he is also a quality defender. FanGraphs gave him a 5.8 defensive rating at the second base position, which is where he primarily plays. In 2014, he played at every position except catcher, pitcher, first base, and third base, making him the most versatile player in the MLB. Though he wouldn’t have a consistent position on the Dodgers, he can give almost anyone in the lineup a day off, when necessary.
To put things in perspective, Ben Zobrist would’ve had the second highest WAR among position players on the Dodgers last season. He’s that good. If the Rays truly want to dump him for salary-related reasons, the Dodgers should be first in line to acquire his services. And if Friedman wants him bad enough, he’ll undoubtedly find a way to get him.