LA Angels: Ben Zobrist Would Solidify Elite Infield
Perhaps their strongest overall positional group going into 2020, the LA Angels infield may need one more boost to make it an elite group in the MLB. Ben Zobrist could be the guy who get them to that level.
What this really boils down to for the LA Angels is how they view their current group of players, most importantly David Fletcher, Luis Rengifo, and Matt Thaiss. Fletcher is obviously a starter, but could he log meaningful innings in the corner outfield and still provide solid defense?
The other two are young players who, despite showing flashes last year, might not be ready to be the first options off the bench on a contending team (which the Angels plan to be in 2020). That’s where Ben Zobrist comes in.
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I wrote last week about one player the Angels shouldn’t allow Joe Maddon to reunite with, but Ben Zobrist is a perfect candidate to bring to Anaheim and link up with his old manager. His ability to play *checks notes* every position on the field is a trait that general manager Billy Eppler has prioritized ever since taking over at the helm of the Angels’ front office.
On top of his versatility, Zobrist proved in 2019 that he can still be a valuable bat to have coming off the bench. His 2019 sample size is extremely small as Zobrist took a large portion of the season off to attend to personal matters, but over the course of his career Zobrist has proven to be a dynamic hitter whether he is coming off the bench or starting baseball games.
He is a remarkably consistent player, and won’t be expensive in 2020. Zobrist is currently weighing his options between retirement or suiting up for 2020, what would be his 15th season in the MLB. If he does decide to play, it will be for a very small guaranteed deal, or even a minor league option.
The main reason I’m advocating for Zobrist is that he is the perfect glue guy for the Angels. Nearly every position player on their 40-man roster can play multiple positions. However, Zobrist can be the player who can keep most of their regulars – David Fletcher, Tommy La Stella – in consistent spots throughout the year.
Is Ben Zobrist the former All Star he has been earlier in his career? No. However, he is a low-cost, high-floor option for the Angels to sign. And they just so happen to have the manager who knows how to use him better than anyone.