My #1 FA Target: Ben Zobrist

Introducing a new series of articles on Talknats: If I am Mike Rizzo for a day. This is actually the second article in this series.

If I am Mike Rizzo for a day, I am spending that day going hard after my #1 FA target this year: Ben Zobrist (sorry to steal your thunder Ghost).

Tom Boswell’s article Kansas City might be built to defeat New York’s outstanding pitching staff got me thinking about the Nats lineup and what they need. The issue of contact hitters vs. the Mets hit me like a ton of bricks. Consider that Michael Taylor got most of the PAs due to Werth’s and Span’s injuries. His K rate of 31% when compared to Werth’s of 22% in 2015 (and 23% for his career) and Span’s of 9.5% for 2015 (and 11% for his career) is telling.

Why Ben Zobrist? Here are just a few of the reasons:

  1. His K rate in 2105 was 10%, and for his career it is 15%.
  2. He plays 2B, SS and the OF. So if Werth is hurt or has simply declined, he can play the outfield. And if Werth looks good in ST and to begin the season, Ben can play 2B, with Danny at SS and Rendon at 3B. That means you can give Trea more PAs in the minors and bring him up later.
  3. This makes Escobar available in a trade (trade high IMO).
  4. KC can’t give him a QO so no loss of a pick.
  5. He supposedly is a great clubhouse guy.
  6. and so on, and so on.

Check out this table of the career stats of some of the lefty bats we’ve discussed here.


Selected Stats for LH FA Bats (source:
Please comment if you see any errors here so we can correct this table.

Looking at these numbers, can anyone truly say that given what Heyward will demand and get, that he should even be in the conversation for the Nats?

And while Gordon’s RISP BA is better, he Ks more.

Parra seems to be a last resort, despite his slightly better BA.

And Davis’ SLG and OPS is much better, but is it worth it given how much he Ks?

The only question in my mind is how much Zobrist is going to demand/expect. There is no question that he is probably the best available FA LH bat (yea, I know he is a switch hitter) given what the Nats need – coverage for the OF and more/better options for the middle infield.

If you would like to write an article in this series, let us know by emailing us at [email protected].

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