In a report from the GM Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida earlier this month, Washington Post writer James Wagner, citing "people familiar with the situation," wrote that he'd heard that the Washington Nationals, "... have interest in free agent veteran utility man Ben Zobrist, though he added that, "Zobrist isn’t believed to a top priority" in spite of the Nats' history of interest in the versatile 34-year-old infielder/outfielder.
Zobrist put up a combined .276/.359/.450 line with 36 doubles and 13 HRs in a 2.1 fWAR campaign in which he played 126 games and made 535 plate appearances for the Oakland A's and World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, who acquired the ten-year veteran in a pre-non-waiver deadline deal in late July.
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo, in a conversation with reporters last week, after the introduction of the Nats' new medical staff, talked about the need to get more left-handed.
"We know that Matt den Dekker came on really well for us last year," Rizzo told reporters, including Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes:
"We’re going to give him an opportunity to see what he can do as a fourth outfielder that can help us, but that’s not to say we’re not looking at every aspect of the roster. We know we need to get more left-handed to balance ourselves, to balance our lineup up, so we’re cognizant of those things."
Zobrist could, of course, give the Nationals what they need (a left-handed hitting infielder/outfielder), though he's not going to come cheap.
New York Times' writer Tim Rohan tweeted last week that Zobrist, who spoke to the New York Mets, is looking for a four-year deal this winter and "wants to play for a winner."
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal too is now reporting that the Nationals have expressed interest in Zobrist once again this winter:
#Nationals need left-handed hitting IFer and left-handed hitting OFer. Zobrist, a switch-hitter and longtime target, could fill both roles.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 24, 2015
The last tweet on Zobrist was not simply speculation. #Nationals are interested in Zobrist. So are many other clubs. Fits almost all.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 24, 2015
The Nationals reportedly inquired about Zobrist's availability last winter before the Tampa Bay Rays dealt him to the Oakland A's and Rosenthal, among others, reported that they checked in again before he was dealt to the Royals at the non-waiver deadline.
Will they pursue the utility man again this winter? Are you comfortable with the idea of giving a 34-year-old, ten-year veteran a four-year deal?