Not the best player, but maybe the one drawing the most attention this offseason is Ben Zobrist of the Kansas City Royals, whose consistent hitting and ability to play a number of positions is making teams overlook his age, as World Series champions and playoff teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets are going after him.
The interesting thing about Zobrist, 34, is that he’s looking to make the biggest payday of his career despite being at an age when things start slowing down. He made $7.5 million last season in a season he was moved around in from the Oakland A’s to the Royals to help them win the World Series, hitting .303 with two home runs and 7 RBIs in the playoffs. Since 2011, his batting average hasn’t been lower than .268 in any season, batting a .276 with 13 home runs in 2015.
So how much is it going to cost to keep (for the Royals) or draw him away? The rumors suggests he’s looking for a four year deal paying him $60 million, which sounds quite high for someone who is going to celebrate his 35th birthday a month after the 2016 season begins. It’s not just the money, it’s the length of the deal, even if there’s an opening to add some conditions and make the fourth year a vesting options based on innings played and similar ideas.
But the market dictates the terms and above all else, the contracts. This is a very good market for hitters, with Zobrist being one of the few ones worthy of focusing a number of team’s attention at him. It seems the asking price for him keeps going up instead of him compromising to get a deal done, with every two days a new team getting added to the list of those that are hoping to land him for the 2016 season, making a unique situation considering his age, but a very profitable situation for the utility man.