A’s Zobrist reportedly targeted in trade talks

A’s infielder and outfielder Ben Zobrist may be┬áplanning on facing Kansas City pitching this weekend, but it’s not out of the question that he would be playing behind them┬áby the Royals’ next series.

The do-it-all utilityman, who came to Oakland as the A’s lucked out on in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays this January in a trade for catcher John Jaso and other smaller pieces, may be departing soon.

John Morosi and Ken Rosenthal have both reported that a number of teams have inquired on Zobrist, who recently turned 34 years old.

The Cubs, Nationals and Mets have joined the Royals in their queries for Zobrist, though the Royals have the luxury of being in town for face-to-face conversations with front office executives Billy Beane and David Forst.

The demand for Zobrist will only increase his value, but the A’s have been winning lately, and any potential move could be a tricky one.

The A’s are in flux. They started the season so poorly that early 18th century France may have been more hospitable to fans. They’re winning now, and are in a position to make a real run at becoming buyers.

They have little to work with, though, to acquire a big bat. Their biggest need is in the bullpen, Oakland relievers has the highest ERA in baseball, and they don’t have a dependable reliever at all.

Tyler Clippard has been their best, and though he’s allowed some baserunners at bad times, he’s been pretty okay. Which is even more intriguing because one of the teams that has been scoping out Zobrist, Washington, would like to have Clippard back as well.

Clippard was acquired in a trade for Yunel Escobar, who is linked to Zobrist, the irony coming as Escobar was shipped from Tampa Bay with the veteran.

If Clippard is involved in a trade with Zobrist, particularly to Washington or the Chicago Cubs, the return could be immense. Chicago has some serious minor league depth, and Washington has enough to work something out.

Zobrist has a .792 OPS this season, with a 21/13 BB-SO ratio, along with 30 runs and 27 RBI in 169 plate appearances.


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