Ben Zobrist at point of making decision; Mets, Nationals favorites

Ben Zobrist

Rich MacLeodAnother day, another story as the Ben Zobrist sweepstakes continues.

After visiting with the Mets earlier this week in Connecticut and reportedly scheduled to visit with the Nationals at some point over the Winter Meetings, Zobrist met with the Giants on Sunday, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, as well as the Dodgers, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

While this situation could potentially play out until the end of the week, Zobrist is at a point of making his decision, Marc Topkin of the Tamba Bay Times reports.

According to Topkin, Zobrist has undergone very thorough research and could be ready to decide on his destination.

But there isn’t a natural fit for Zobrist with the Dodgers, which seems to have narrowed the field down to the Mets Giants and Nationals, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and Rosenthal said on MLB Network on Monday the Mets and Nationals must be considered the favorites to land the 34-year-old super-utility player.

While the Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants and Braves have all been linked to the versatile infielder in the past couple weeks, the Mets and Nationals are both located closer to Zobrist’s home in Nashville, and Heyman believes one of the Mets, Nationals, Giants or Dodgers will land Zobrist on a four-year deal.

2015 Winter MeetingsEarlier on Sunday, it was reported by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that the Mets were willing to go to four years in a potential contract for Zobrist, but there are other teams willing to do the same.

Among those teams are the Nationals, Giants and Dodgers according to Heyman.

While it is unknown where he is leaning, multiple reports indicate that it is likely that Zobrist could make his decision by the end of the Winter Meetings.

And according to John Harper of the Daily News, Zobrist liked New York when he visited with the Mets last week, and would be very comfortable signing with the Mets after touring Citi Field and the metropolitan area.

Zobrist reportedly prefers to play second base primarily, which could eliminate the Giants from contention for the free agent as they would sign him to play left field.

If that’s the case, can Washington guarantee Zobrist a mostly permanent spot at second base?

The Mets certainly can, and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo insists they see Zobrist as a second baseman, according to Bill Ladson of 

But it really is not that simple.

The Nationals have Anthony Rendon, Yunel Escobar, and Trea Turner along with Ryan Zimmerman around the infield today. Assuming Turner makes the team out of camp, he appears to be Washington’s shortstop. Right now, Rendon looks to be at second base with Escobar at third base..

Escobar is reportedly being shopped this winter. He is not a good defensive player, but he’s a body on the rosterand possibly a difficult one to move in trade. He could go to the bench as a utility infielder if they can’t move him, which would create room for Zobrist as they could move Rendon to third. But that could create an uncomfortable situation in general.

No matter what, a deal appears unlikely to be finalized before Thursday, tweets Kristie Ackert of the Daily News, as Zobrist still needs to visit again with the Nationals, which will take place tomorrow in Nashville.

Zobrist is on the verge of making a decision, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

To read the latest news on Ben Zobrist in free agency, click here.

Original post: December 6, 11:25 pm
Updated: December 7, 8:35 am, 11:20 am, 12:10 pm, 3:15 pm, 3:59 pm, 4:35 pm

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