Mets have formally discussed Ben Zobrist with his agent
The Mets plan for this offseason surrounds creating versatility at a number of positions, specifically in the outfield and on the middle infield.
No player better fits the profile of what the Mets are seeking than Ben Zobrist, as he can play both middle infield positions and the corner outfield positions proficiently. He can also play first and third base and centerfield if needed.
Zobrist is a contact-oriented hitter, and showed during the World Series against the Mets he is one of the better fastball hitters in the game, even as he concluded his age-34 season.
The Mets were interested in acquiring Zobrist in a trade this past season from the A’s, but those talks stalled thanks to a disagreement over the asking price. Zobrist was ultimately sent to the Royals in a deal that netted Billy Beane LHP Sean Manea, the Royals second best prospect.
But now, Zobrist is a free agent, and he would still be an outstanding fit for the Mets as they seek to improve their defense, their swing-to-contact methodology, and their overall versatility.
The Mets know this too, and clearly view him as a natural fit for their needs.
As such, they’ve already had formal discussions about Zobrist with his agent, Alan Nero at Octagon Baseball, according to the New York Post.
All things being equal, Zobrist would be an upgrade to Daniel Murphy and provide stability up the middle. He would help transform the top of their lineup from swing-and-miss to more contact with an ability to get on-base, and be another solid, veteran leader for the clubhouse as they endeavor to win their first World Championship since 1986.
Zobrist also did not receive a qualifying offer, so he is not tied to draft compensation next summer.
But he’s going to have a lot of suitors, which could drive his price up. He’s also entering his age-35 season in 2016, and while that might mean he will settle for a short-term deal, his skills will undoubtedly start to diminish, if they haven’t done so already. That means his foot speed might slow down and his bat speed might be reduced.
He’s also expressed a lot of interest to stay in Kansas City, as he’s the perfect player for their system – he fit right into their organization and helped make their World Championship in 2015 possible. At this stage of his career, he could consider taking a lesser deal to remain with the Royals, rather than explore a new frontier with a team like the Mets or the other teams who will undoubtedly try and recruit him.
Zobrist hit .276/.359/.450 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 126 games with the A’s and Royals in 2015. He underwent April knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.