Rays trade rumors: Ben Zobrist could be dealt if Tampa Bay continues to struggle

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Zobrist is banged up at the moment, but if the Rays continue to bring up the rear in the AL East, they could look to trade him for prospects.

The Tampa Bay Rays have put together a surprising season so far in 2014 -- in a bad way.

Many expected them to be one of the best teams in baseball this season, but that has not been the case due to injuries and a struggling pitching staff. Right now, they are 18-23. They can still turn things around, but if their season continues to be a bummer, they might think about trading that guy you've always expected them to trade.

We're both thinking about Ben Zobrist, right?

Grantland's Jonah Keri broke down the team's "horrific start," concluding that the Rays could look to trade Zobrist if things don't get better.

Several teams would be interested, to put it mildly, presuming he returns quickly from the dislocated thumb he suffered in Wednesday's game -- the duration of the recovery, if any, had yet to be determined as of this morning.

Zobrist, 32, can play several position, he gets on base, can swipe a few, and he has posted a .446 slugging percentage since 2008 -- oh, and he basically plays for free.

Zobrist will earn $7 million this season and has a team option in his contract for 2015 at $7.5 million. For a little contrast, three different teams will pay (the recently designated for assignment) Heath Bell a total of $10 million this year -- including the Rays.

A year-and-a-half of Zobrist for about that amount would be an extremely valuable commodity for the Rays to shop. He can fill holes in the outfield for clubs like Detroit, Seattle, and Washington ... or he could help a team that could use an impactful second baseman -- like Atlanta, St. Louis, or Colorado.

Just about any team in contention could make use of a guy like Zobrist, who has been among the most productive players in baseball since becoming a regular in 2009. He is widely considered one of the most underrated players in the game, which typically results in a player being overrated after a certain period of time, but that is not the case with Zobrist.

Since 2009, only Miguel Cabrera and Evan Longoria have posted a higher fWAR.

If Tampa Bay looks to shop him, they could receive at least one handful of prospects in return.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join MLB Daily Dish

You must be a member of MLB Daily Dish to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MLB Daily Dish. You should read them.

Join MLB Daily Dish

You must be a member of MLB Daily Dish to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at MLB Daily Dish. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker