Another of Larry Thornberry’s old Tampa Bay Rays favorites has been traded away by the Oakland A’s.
Last week, it was Oakland dealing Scott Kazmir to Houston. Today, the A’s have dealt super utility man Ben Zobrist to the Kansas City Royals for minor league pitchers Sean Manaea and Aaron Brooks.
Originally a 6th round draft pick by the Houston Astros in 2004, Zobrist was traded to Tampa in July 2006 in the Aubrey Huff deal. Zobrist would become a mainstay in the Rays lineup for nearly a decade, is a two-time ALL All-Star and was a key contributor to their AL pennant triumph in 2008. His best season came in 2009 when he hit .297 with 27 HR and drove in 91 runs. He also played on Rays teams which reached the post-season in 2010, 2011 & 2013.
Back in January, the Rays dealt Zobrist to Oakland for catcher John Jaso. Zobrist missed the first month of this season following knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. In 67 games with Oakland in 2015, Zobrist hit .268 with 6 HR and 33 RBI. Zobrist is expected to play left field in the absence of Alex Gordon who sustained a groin injury earlier this month and was forced to miss the All-Star Game to which he had been elected a starter. Zobrist, however, can play a variety of positions especially second base.
The Royals have an 8 game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central, but it can’t hurt to add a player with Zobrist’s versatility and post-season experience.