Washington Nationals Rumors: Nats Interested in Ben Zobrist


With Ian Desmond set to leave the Washington Nationals via free agency, the organization will be looking for infield help this winter. One of the names that has popped up on the Hot Stove rumor mill is Ben Zobrist. According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, the Nats are one of the teams that are interested in acquiring the 34-year-old utility player:

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This past season, Zobrist played with the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals. In 126 combined games, Zobrist had a slash line of .276/.359/.450 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI’s. He spent the first part of the season with the A’s before being dealt to the eventual World Series champion Royals at the trade deadline for two pitching prospects.

Zobrist put up good numbers in the regular season, but he made his money during the postseason. In October, he hit .303 in 16 games with two home runs, six RBI’s, walked seven times, and had eight doubles (four of them coming in the World Series against the New York Mets).

One of the reasons why the Nationals would be interested in Zobrist is because of his versatility. This past season, he played at four positions: right field, left field, third base, and second base. With Anthony Rendon set to take over third base in 2016, the Nats have two spots open in the infield (shortstop and second base).

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It is likely that Trea Turner will take over at shortstop with Yunel Escobar going to second base, a position he has not played since 2007. The Nats also have Danny Espinosa on the bench, who can play both of those positions. Plus, for a Nats team looking to do more on the bases, Zobrist can contribute in that aspect of the game when you consider he has had at least a .350 on-base percentage each of the last five seasons.

The Nationals are one of many teams who are interested in Zobrist’s services. According to MLB Trade Rumors’ predictions, Zobrist was picked to sign with the New York Yankees on a three-year, $51 million. He doesn’t have a qualifying offer attached to him, so the Nats would not have to give up a draft pick if they were to sign him.

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While Zobrist would be a good fit for this Nats team, there are a lot of suitors who might drive up the price that could prohibit the team from signing him. He is a player that the Nats had interest in via a trade last winter and at the deadline in July, so it is no surprise that the organization would now try to sign him as a free agent.