The A’s Don’t Need Ben Zobrist

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Since Tampa Bay traded away one of their young talents away in Wil Myers, it appears that they could be willing to part with anyone, including utility man Ben Zobrist. Over the course of last season, Zobrist was a name I was hoping would don the green and gold to help for the playoff push. After an offseason that has included trades of four All-Stars however, the A’s are shifting gears, and a player of Zobrist’s caliber doesn’t make sense for the A’s are they are currently constructed.

Zobrist, 33, has one more year left on his contract, and is set to earn $7.5M in 2015. If the A’s are bent on re-tooling, trading away some of their new, young, acquisitions doesn’t make sense for one year of a utility man in decline. From 2012-2014, Zobrist’s average season has been a .272/.362/.422 triple slash, with 14 home runs and 66 rbi in an average of 153 games per season. That’s a pretty solid average season for a second baseman.

Last season, Ben Zobrist performed well below that average, with a .272/.354/.395 slash with 10 homers and 52 rbi. Yes, he has hit 20+ home runs three times in his career, including back-to-back seasons of 20 home runs in 2011 and 2012, but at 33, his power numbers will likely continue to decline.

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Obviously, Eric Sogard doesn’t put up those kinds of offensive numbers, which is why the thought of Ben Zobrist excites the masses, but keeping with the looking ahead theme, say that Daniel Robertson is ready in 2016 and can take over shortstop duties. That would mean Marcus Semien would likely slide over to second, and his numbers are pretty close to Zobrist’s, if extrapolated over the same number of at-bats.

In 2014, Semien had 231 at-bats, and had a slash line of .234/.300/.372. Where it gets interesting is his power numbers. Semien had 6 homers and 28 rbi, which, given the same number of at-bats as Zobrist, translates into roughly 15 homers and 70 rbi.

The A’s seemingly already have their Ben Zobrist in Marcus Semien. There is no need to trade away more talent to acquire a rental player in a year that the A’s aren’t expected to make a run. Take 2015 as a year to give the young guys experience and see who makes the cut for 2016, when Oakland should be right back to competing for an AL West division crown.

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