Ben Zobrist: Bona fide star or solid utility man?
It was a union preordained by the Baseball Gods — Ben Zobrist, arguably the most well-rounded and underappreciated player of the past decade, and the Oakland A’s, famous for mining market inefficiencies and shifting players across the diamond to snatch extra wins. Zobrist’s trade from Tampa Bay to the Bay Area has ignited battles between his sabermetric champions, who think the A’s just acquired a star, and more old-school scribes, who view Zobrist as merely a .270-hitting complementary lineup piece. If those scribes look closer, they’ll see a switch-hitting throwback to the days when Tony Phillips drew bunches of walks and capably manned nearly every defensive spot for Tony La Russa’s A’s. Considering Zobrist’s defensive versatility, on-base chops and dirt-cheap salary ($7.5 million in 2015), score this one as a win for the green and gold.