St. Louis Cardinals: Do not pursue Ben Zobrist


Ben Zobrist has been one of the most attractive Free Agents this offseason and has even been linked to the St. Louis Cardinals. Maybe he is not worth it?

Ben Zobrist is without a doubt a valuable commodity this offseason. A quick google search shows that a number of teams are interested in his services, and for good reason; he slashed .276/.359/.450 with Kansas City and Oakland last season. Zobrist has also played all over the diamond throughout his career and has shown mild pop, so there’s a reason he has been tied to so many teams including the cardinals.

However, given that Zobrist will likely be able to name the position he wants to play for the team that he signs with. This means that Zobrist is not looking to accept a deal involving him being the team’s regular backup in the infield. Zobrist is also going to get quite the hefty pay day for his services, which means that he likely automatically prices himself out of the market for the Cardinals.

Another reason is what the Cardinals currently have as bench options currently and what their needs currently are. Currently the backup middle infielder is slated to be Greg Garcia, who owns an OBP over .350 in both of the previous years at Memphis and has shown an ability to contribute a little bit of pop in his career.

Garcia is also eight years younger than Zobrist and won’t even be arbitration eligible for a few more years. Defensively, Garcia can play all over the infield, but has not played in the OF like Zobrist can. In case you live under a rock, this is not going to be needed for the Cardinals. So, Zobrist’s value is only in the infield.

The other player that figures to be a player for the 2016 middle infield bench spot is Aledmys Diaz, the Cuban defector whose praises I have been singing this offseason. Diaz has experience at all of the same areas as Zobrist and Garcia and has a much better bat than Garcia. Looking at his numbers in the Arizona Fall League, also shows that Diaz is improving and is making himself ready to make the jump to the big leagues. 

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Diaz translates into being a key player for the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals because of his bat and comfortability at shortstop. Like Garcia, Diaz is much cheaper than Zobrist and projects to be able to perform over a longer period of time than Zobrist does due to age.

Before you come at me with that “experience” word that many fans love to throw around, take a look at the last middle infielder with experience the Cardinals decided to bring in. That would be Mark Ellis, Ellis was brought in at age 37 and did not do well for the Cardinals. In 72 games Ellis regressed awfully, hitting .180 with an abysmal OBP of .253 and only managing to come up with six doubles in his 178 at-bats. This, a year after having an average of .270 and OBP of .323.

For those of you who want to remind of Zobrist’s power, as we have discussed with Chris Davis, this can go fast. The Cardinals’ know how fast mild power can drop, as they saw in 2013 with Ty Wigginton.

Next: St. Louis Cardinals: Needs for patience and urgency

The Cardinals are reportedly interested in top tier pitching, and their options are narrowing, with the dominoes starting to fall with Jordan Zimmermann going to the Tigers. There are many options available to improve this club this winter. We all know the Cardinals’ are willing to spend some money this offseason, it just doesn’t make sense to do so on Ben Zobrist.