The Tampa Bay Rays definitely have some problems in the middle infield, and Ben Zobrist appears to be their short term solution. The Rays have allowed Zobrist to play short with “fly ball pitchers” on the mound to ensure they get their best offensive team on the field, but now- Zobrist was playing SS with a ground ball pitcher (Alex Cobb) on the mound which leads me to speculate the Rays are going to roll with this concept for the rest of the year.
This isn’t as big a deal as it sounds since Zobrist came up as a SS so he’s not new to the spot, but he’s been playing 2nd base and right field for the majority of his career so I’m not sure how “caught up” Zobrist is at the big league level. Unfortunately, the Rays don’t have any other options with Hak Ju Lee not being near ready this year.
This is an important move for the Rays because Ben Zobrist is needed in the lineup, and the Rays have to be able to score runs to ensure their playoff spot. Guys like Carlos Pena need to step up their game, but all in all- I like this move. Joe Madden is never afraid to push some unorthodox buttons and that’s why I ultimately think this will be successful.
As long as Zobrist plays an average SS (which I think he will) there’s just nothing to really hate about this move. I mean desperate times call for desperate measures right?
We’ll see how he does the rest of the year, but obviously- Tampa Bay is “all in” with this move- and I LOVE it.