David asks: The Rays are looking for a first baseman. Do you think they could consider trading Ben Zobrist, who would be a real upgrade, for a package like Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy and a pitching prospect?
I’m not sure how this makes sense right now, David. Sure, Zobrist is better than Murphy, but the Mets’ needs are deeper at other areas. Second base is low on the list of priorities for the Mets. If they can get a return for Murphy and/or Ike, they should be looking for a shortstop or a legit first baseman, neither of which are on Zobrist’s résumé.
Another factor going against this is the relative lack of interest in both Ike and Murphy. There have been rumblings from Orlando that there’s not much buzz surrounding either player. In Ike’s case, that may be due to an unrealistic price tag, but the fact does remain.
Now, Zobrist is a terrific ball player. He’s a two-time All Star and has a top-10 and two other top-20 MVP finishes. He’s a career .263/.354/.435 hitter with a 75% stolen base success rate and he plays great defense at both second base and right field.
So it makes me wonder how strong the pitching prospect has to be to pry him away from a competitive team. Since the prospect isn’t going to contribute this season, or at least contribute minimally later in the season, he must have one heck of a ceiling for the Rays to unload an All Star for him and two guys that aren’t really generating any interest. It would be a significant downgrade for this season. And if it’s going to take a top prospect, is it worth it to use him for a guy that’s going to free agency after this season at a position that’s not dire?
I could see taking the chance if the Mets were a strong contender and second base was a big weakness for them, but they’re not and it’s not. If the two teams want to discuss a trade, the Mets should inquire about shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee. Wilmer Flores, Wilfredo Tovar and Ruben Tejada would be more than adequate second basemen in the event that the Mets acquire Lee (or any other legit shortstop) and Murphy has been traded for another area of need. I feel Zobrist is a poor allocation of resources at this time.