Detroit Tigers Should Make A Run At Ben Zobrist

By Brad Faber
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, the Detroit Tigers attempted to solve their bullpen problem by trading for Joakim Soria, but they still might have another mission to accomplish in finding another left-handed bat.

The Tigers currently have two switch-hitters, Victor Martinez and Andrew Romine, and two left-handed hitters in Alex Avila and Don Kelly. All in all, Martinez has been the only consistent left-handed threat that the Tigers have had throughout the first four months of the season. Romine, Avila and Kelly have combined for a lowly .223 batting average from the left side. They should really consider looking at the versatile, switch-hitting Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Admittedly, Zobrist has struggled a bit from the left side this season, batting just .228/.323/.358 as a left-handed hitter, but he has hit .253 with 82 homers as a lefty over his nine-year MLB career. He would still be an upgrade over Romine, Avila and Kelly nevertheless. Furthermore, a better reason Zobrist might be a fit for the Tigers is because of his versatility.

Zobrist has played seven different positions in his career, including shortstop where he has been quite solid. Shortstop has been a problem area for the Tigers throughout the entire season. It looked as if they had finally solved it with rookie Eugenio Suarez, but he has been mired in a bit of a slump lately, dropping his batting average to .252.

Zobrist could platoon with Suarez at shortstop, and his experience would really look nice over there as the Tigers currently have another rookie on the left side of the infield with Nick Castellanos at third base. Furthermore, even though the Tigers’ outfield is rather crowded right now, Zobrist could get a few reps out there as well, especially if rehabbing Andy Dirks encounters another setback and needs more time before rejoining the Tigers.

The Rays are currently in fourth-place in the AL East, trailing the Baltimore Orioles by seven games, and some think they still may be on the fence on whether they should be sellers. Zobrist has also been one of the Rays’ key pieces ever since they first became contenders back in 2008, so it is easy to see why they would be hesitant to deal him as well.

If the Rays do decide to make Zobrist available, though, the Tigers should not be reluctant to call, as there will obviously be a number of other teams interested in his services.

Brad Faber is a Detroit Tigers writer for Follow him on Twitter @Brad_Faber, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on LinkedIn or Google.

You May Also Like