- If the Detroit Tigers are looking to add another bat that would also provide them with a solid veteran presence, they should consider signing Ben Zobrist.
Coming off what was a rough year, even by the standards of a team trying to rebuild, the Detroit Tigers appear willing to make moves that will make the team more competitive for 2020 this offseason. They’ve already added two solid bats in C.J. Cron for first base and Jonathan Schoop for second base.
Yet if the team is looking to add another bat this offseason, they may also want to add a player who can bring a strong veteran presence to a young, up-and-coming team. That’s why free agent Ben Zobrist could be a great addition for the Tigers.
The 38-year-old switch-hitting Zobrist has spent the last four seasons with the Chicago Cubs after stops in Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Kansas City. He was the World Series MVP in 2016 with the Cubs, while he’s had a great overall career, posting a career WAR of 45.2. However, faced with problems in his personal life, Zobrist sat out the majority of the 2019 season.
After such a tumultuous season, it’s still unclear whether he will even want to play in 2020 or if he will retire. No announcement has been made either way, but with the Cubs strapped for cash this offseason, he almost certainly won’t be returning to Wrigley Field. If not, perhaps the Tigers would be interested.
Zobrist has always been a player of strong character who has a competitive fire; while with the Cubs, he could frequently be seen standing at the top of the dugout stairs, cheering on his teammates. He’d be a great leader for the young Tigers, but he also proved that he had some life left in his bat upon his return in 2019, when he batted .284 in 21 games.
You may be asking why Zobrist would want to come to a rebuilding team at this stage of his career. This is just speculation, but perhaps he would benefit from being in a low-pressure environment after everything that happened in 2019. He may also see it as a great challenge to try to help guide this young team towards contention. He certainly would benefit the Tigers, as he’s done a lot of winning in his career.
Where would Zobrist fit into the lineup? He’s primarily been a second baseman, though he’s shown lots of versatility throughout his career and could play both right and left field along with spelling Schoop at second. He’s probably not an everyday player at this point, so he would fit in nicely as a utility man.
Yet as was mentioned above, Zobrist would at least be in Detroit as much as a mentor as being a contributor to the offense. If the Detroit Tigers are indeed looking for such a player, they should check in on Ben Zobrist.