Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Zobrist is signed for four years, $62 million
Here it is ladies and gentlemen, the biggest move of the offseason. With the team in win-now mode, Ben Zobrist becomes one of the most attractive fee agent targets on the market, regardless of the cost. The switch-hitting super utility man fits the needs of almost every team in the league, leaving no surprise to the reports of at least half the teams in baseball inquiring on his asking price. While $60 million over four years is no small amount, it is nothing particularly outside of the Nats’ price range.
As covered in my free agent profile of the 34-year old, two-time All-Star, Zobrist covers all the bases for the Nats. He can play either shortstop or second base, allowing manager Dusty Baker to play either Danny Espinosa or rookie Trea Turner as he sees fit. He can also play outfield, spelling starters Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth in case of injury or rest. As a switch hitter, he provides a left-handed presence against righties that their offense lacked in 2015 (other than Harper of course).
While some may be reluctant to be giving a 34-year old a four-year deal, and for good reason, Zobrist is as good a candidate as ever to beat the aging curve. He has played in at least 126 games in seven straight seasons, including 145+ games in six of them, while his batting average has remained above .268 for five straight years. Fans can rest easy knowing he’s the most secure option for the team’s near future.
Next: Middle infield depth