The Pittsburgh Pirates have been fluttering on offense recently because of injuries to stars Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker. This has led many people to look to August waiver trade targets that can help the team. One possible target the Pirates should look at is Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Zobrist is any interesting name because he was wrongly reported to have been traded to the Pirates before the July 31 trade deadline. But now Zobrist is a real target the Pirates should consider. He is a versatile player who can play at second base and all of the outfield positions. This is perfect for the Pirates because Walker is expected to go on the DL Monday and they need a replacement. And when Walker is healthy, Zobrist could be moved to the outfield in a platoon situation with Gregory Polanco.
Along with Zobrist’s defensive versatility, he would be a great bat coming off of the bench or in the heart of the Pirates’ order. He is hitting for a high average and an above average OPS. This would be welcome in the Pirates’ lineup that is sorely lacking a big bat with the injuries to McCutchen and Walker.
Zobrist is also an inexpensive option. He is owed the rest of his $7.5 million salary this year and has an option for next season at the same price. So the Pirates would be getting more than a rental player, they would gain a player they could fit into their small market budget.
Adding Zobrist could even help the Pirates in other ways. This could allow the team to tinker with Walker’s position in the offseason. Many believe that Walker could be a future third baseman or first baseman. With the addition of Zobrist, the Pirates could move Walker over to first base because they would have a replacement for him in Zobrist.
Adding Zobrist makes all the sense in the world for the Pirates. It makes great sense for the Rays as they are familiar with the Pirates’ farm system after scouting them a lot before the July 31 trade deadline. The only issue could be Zobrist making it to the Pirates on waivers because there was a lot of interest in him before the July 31 deadline. But if the Pirates have the chance to make a claim on Zobrist and trade for him, it is something they should do.