Ben Zobrist: Part of Braves’ Plan to Bridge to 2017?


Ben Zobrist is one of the more marquee names in MLB Free Agency. Would he want to play for the Atlanta Braves as the team transitions into competitiveness in 2017?

According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Atlanta Braves are one of the teams in pursuit of 2B Ben Zobrist, as the World Series Champion with the 2015 Kansas City Royals enters free agency.

The Atlanta Braves want to acquire Ben Zobrist and have him take on a mentor role with the club as the team looks to field a competitive team when the Braves move to SunTrust Park in 2017.

Since Zobrist had already been a part of two AL Championship teams (2008 Tampa Bay Rays and 2015 Kansas City Royals), he may feel more comfortable with being part of a rebuilding team than we would think. It may come down to the guaranteed fourth year in a deal for the free agent.

Would conservative Atlanta want to have Ben Zobrist under contract when he’s 38 years old? The Atlanta Braves did sign 38-year-old C A.J. Pierzynski to a one-year deal with the team last year and have agreed to bring the veteran backstop back to Atlanta for the 2016 MLB season on another one-year deal. Pierzynski was arguably the team’s MVP last season, handling a young and inexperienced pitching staff and having to step in and start at catcher when Christian Bethancourt became ineffective.

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Ben Zobrist would likely play second base or shortstop for the Atlanta Braves. Since Andrelton Simmons now plays for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that SS Erick Aybar could move to second with the arrival of Zobrist. Potentially having a pair of former AL All-Stars up the middle in Aybar and Zobrist sounds intriguing for this rebuilding team.

It seems as though under President of Baseball Operations John Hart and General Manager John Coppolella that the Atlanta Braves are keen on bringing in veteran winners from other organizations to fill out their roster to show the young players what it takes to compete at the Major League level.

Keep in mind the Atlanta Braves have not advanced in the postseason since playing in the NLCS in 2001, after getting mowed down by the Arizona Diamondbacks and the buzz saw duo of Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

Signing Ben Zobrist would have a bit of the Nick Markakis feel to it, a great teammate and a fringe All-Star that has helped take long-suffering teams to the postseason. Zobrist has been 2x All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays (2009, 2013) and has played in the postseason 5 times in his 10-year big league career.

He is a career .265/.355/.431 switch-hitting middle infielder. The OBP and the SLG of Ben Zobrist seems almost light years better than any type of production that Atlanta Braves have gotten from their middle infielders since the Martin Prado/Omar Infante days.

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Atlanta will have to pay Ben Zobrist handsomely to get him to come to the Braves organization, but should he want to help to build a winner one more time, he might jump at the opportunity. Who wouldn’t want to play a part in getting the Atlanta Braves back on track. Keep an eye on Ben Zobrist to see where he ends up signing, possibly with a 4-year deal with the Atlanta Braves.