With Jayson Werth still on the disabled list due to a wrist injury, the Washington Nationals could use some help at the left field position. While Tyler Moore, Michael Taylor, and Clint Robinson are good replacements, the Nationals left fielders have a combined batting average of .217, which is the second lowest in the National League. So, which player could the Nats look at to help improve the position?
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This afternoon, FOX Sports and MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted that he is hearing that the Nationals have had talks with the Oakland Athletics about a possible deal involving utility player Ben Zobrist. The A’s are 11.5 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West and Zobrist is a player that is going to get interest from a lot of teams:
"The qualifier: #Nationals one of many teams that will call on #Athletics’ Zobrist, whose versatility makes him a fit for almost every club.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 5, 2015This season, the 34-year-old is hitting .222 in 23 games with two home runs and 14 RBI’s. Out of those 22 games, he has played ten games in left field. The reason he hasn’t played in as many games is due to injury. He was out from April 25-May 25 with torn cartilage in his left knee and had to undergo surgery.Last season, Zobrist hit .272 with ten home runs and 52 RBI’s for the Tampa Bay Rays. He has had a .350 on-base percentage or better in each of the last four years. His best season of his career was back in 2011 when he had a 8.5 WAR after hitting .269 with 20 home runs and 81 RBI’s.Another factor that works in the Nats favor is that Zobrist is a free agent at the end of the year and he is making $7.5 million this season. Even though Werth hopes to come back August 1, the Nationals could still use a veteran off the bench that can play multiple positions, especially in the outfield.Back on my first day at District On Deck, I wrote about how Zobrist could be the missing piece for this offense, which has struggled mightily as of late. They have only scored one run in their last 22 innings and have scored four runs or more in a game three times in their last 14 games.When you look at a possible Zobrist deal, it might cost a lot when you consider the interest that he will get from a lot of teams and you have to deal with GM Billy Beane, who the Nats are very familiar with. That being said, the Nationals desperately need bench help. Pinch hitters on the Nats this season have only 11 hits in 62 at-bats (.177 average). The only team with a lower batting average than the Nationals in those situations is their division rivals, the New York Mets (.148), who could also use a utility player like Zobrist.More from District on DeckLatest DraftKings Sportsbook Promo Code in Maryland: Bet $5, Win $200 GuaranteedNationals Claim Jeter Downs Off WaiversWashington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell IIIWashington Nationals Tuesday Q&A3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On The qualifier: #Nationals one of many teams that will call on #Athletics’ Zobrist, whose versatility makes him a fit for almost every club.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 5, 2015"