Published on January 10th, 2015 | by Josh Chapdelaine0
A’s acquire Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar, and why Mets stand pat with Wilmer Flores
The Oakland A’s are close to acquiring utility man Ben Zobrist and shortstop Yunel Escobar from the Tampa Bay Rays for catcher John Jaso and prospects Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Meanwhile, the Mets stand pat with Wilmer Flores as the club’s leading candidate to start at shortstop on Opening Day.
Though, If the club was looking to add a shortstop, the team did well not chasing Escobar. The team is in a position where they feel an upgrade may help, but will not overpay in prospects for marginal or uncertain improvement.
Escobar hit .258/.324/.340 in 2014 (90 OPS+), and is a lifetime .276/.347/.381 hitter. Though his defense has typically been highly regarded, the 32-year-old had a consensus down year in 2014.
Overall, Flores hit .251/.286/.378 (identical 90 OPS+) in 2014. However, in 53 games following his second call-up from Triple-A Las Vegas, the shortstop hit .257/.295/.408. In a small sample, his defense was rated slightly above-average at the position. And though he is unlikely to become a defensive wizard, it is likely he will best Escobar’s offense.
Ben Zobrist, the centerpiece of the deal, is not a full-time shortstop. The 34-year-old impending free agent has never played more than 50 games at the position during his big league career. While his addition could have certainly aided a relatively thin Mets offensive depth chart, he has added value to American League clubs that can utilize his bat as a designated hitter.
It appears the club may be best suited giving Flores an audition to begin the season, and if all else fails look to acquire a shortstop via a mid-season trade.