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Friday, February 14, 2020

Ben Zobrist Reportedly Not Planning To Play In 2020

Not a surprise, I guess, but I’m sorry to see him go.

Hank Gillette Posted: February 14, 2020 at 08:56 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ben zobrist

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   1. JRVJ Posted: February 14, 2020 at 10:01 AM (#5924397)
I seem to recall reading that Zobrist went through an extremely nasty divorce in 2019.

Not really my problem, but it seems to have taken its toll on him (and presumably, his ex-wife and other family members).
   2. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 14, 2020 at 10:22 AM (#5924400)
I don't think they got divorced, or at least he didn't want one. He missed several months during the season and came back in September and was actually better than he was before he left. He really didn't have any power at all last year, but he's still a useful bat and can play a few positions competently (2b still ok, and probably fine in both corner OF spots and 1b). He probably shouldn't play every day, but he'd be a good fit on just about any contending team.

I'm bummed if this is the end for him, but he at least seems at peace with it by all we can tell.
   3. JRVJ Posted: February 14, 2020 at 11:37 AM (#5924412)
2, Google "Ben Zobrist Divorce"
   4. PepTech Posted: February 14, 2020 at 11:39 AM (#5924413)
I'm not planning to play in 2020 either. Just so you know.
   5. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 14, 2020 at 11:43 AM (#5924414)
2, Google "Ben Zobrist Divorce"

3, Try reading the articles that come up:

He said he and his wife continue to work at reconciling their differences, and the divorce proceedings haven't advanced.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: February 14, 2020 at 11:58 AM (#5924415)
Zobrist was still using his wife's music when he came back, which would be kind of weird if they got divorced.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:06 PM (#5924417)
He wasn't good in 2019, he's about to turn 39, and he's planning to take this season off. I think we can safely conclude that his career is over.
   8. Zonk Begs Your Pardon, Mr Blago Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:08 PM (#5924418)
Right - Moses is correct... They were going through a messy separation - without getting into the rumors around it - Zo has always maintained that he, at least, wanted to work it out and it seemed like she was amenable to doing so, at least, later in the year, too.

He's a good guy - I daresay a really great guy. Wish him all the best in retirement, and that's even beyond the WS MVP...

He's well short of the HOF, of course, but if a bunch of people wanted to introduce some sort of high character add-on to player value? I certainly have better things in life to complain about...

Fare thee well, Zo - it was fun.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:12 PM (#5924419)
without getting into the rumors around it
Palmeiro's back in town??
   10. JRVJ Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5924421)
5, go to Ms. Zobrist's page.

She mentions being a mother, but in no way mentions being a wife or being married.

http://www.juliannazobrist.com/bio

Still, and to close this out (and I'm not going to continue), the original point stands: Ben Zobrist went through an extremely nasty divorce in 2019, which seems to have taken a terrible toll on him.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: February 14, 2020 at 03:51 PM (#5924484)
Zobrist would be a perfectly fine 26th man for 2020.
   12. Hank Gillette Posted: February 14, 2020 at 04:02 PM (#5924489)
He's well short of the HOF, of course, but if a bunch of people wanted to introduce some sort of high character add-on to player value? I certainly have better things in life to complain about...


He still had a great career, though. By bWAR, he is tied for 248th position player all-time. He could be pushed out of the top 250 this season if McCutchen has a rebound year and Mookie has a normal Mookie year.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 14, 2020 at 04:12 PM (#5924493)
Zobrist would be a perfectly fine 26th man for 2020.
But probably a pretty terrible 20th man for 2026.
   14. RoyalFlush Posted: February 14, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5924495)
He'll always be fondly remembered in KC for his short stay. The previously happy couple named their first kid Royal in honor of his brief time here. She sang a few anthems while they were here too. I remember her website in '15 being completely crazy (not the squarespace version posted in this thread).
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 14, 2020 at 05:10 PM (#5924503)
The previously happy couple named their first kid Royal in honor of his brief time here.
Better than Devil Ray, I suppose. Kudos to family planning.
   16. PreservedFish Posted: February 14, 2020 at 05:19 PM (#5924505)
Zobrist appears to have been a competent defensive shortstop for much of his career, at least a Bogaerts level defender. Were the Rays acting too cute by switching him around the way they did?
   17. Zonk Begs Your Pardon, Mr Blago Posted: February 14, 2020 at 05:50 PM (#5924510)
He still had a great career, though. By bWAR, he is tied for 248th position player all-time. He could be pushed out of the top 250 this season if McCutchen has a rebound year and Mookie has a normal Mookie year.


Yeah - though he was ultimately a 6th rounder, he's also a guy who wasn't scouted at all out of HS... Cubs fans - and I suspect Royals and Rays fans, too - may be familiar with the story, but his HS coach encouraged him to take the time to attend a small school showcase and he ultimately got an scholarship at NAIA Olivet. Without looking back for the relative bonuses - he signed for $55K - I imagine he wasn't particularly a bonus baby.

Not a bad career at all.

He'll always be fondly remembered in KC for his short stay. The previously happy couple named their first kid Royal in honor of his brief time here. She sang a few anthems while they were here too. I remember her website in '15 being completely crazy (not the squarespace version posted in this thread).


I imagine if there are any Rays fan around, they'd probably say the same.

Just a good ballplayer and genuinely good guy.
   18. caspian88 Posted: February 14, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5924522)
I'd rather be named "Devil Ray" than "Royal," but then I was almost named "Damian."

Zobrist has been on multiple championship teams, was one of the key players who turned the Rays around from jokedom, and made a bunch of money (and probably a lot for fantasy owners, too).
   19. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: February 14, 2020 at 07:19 PM (#5924536)
If I recall, the inference to be made was that it was his wife who had been unfaithful to the marriage, and Ben was reluctantly going along with divorce. In his position, I would honestly probably feel similarly, much as I do believe that in most instances it would be foolish to do so. Moving past it as a couple is certainly possible, but I've seen/heard too much instances where that forgiveness sets an unintentional precedent that the act will be permitted to happen again later down the line.
   20. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: February 14, 2020 at 11:22 PM (#5924552)
I think that it would be unfortunate to have your name tied to your father's career. (See also Koby and Kolby and whatever other kids Clemens has.) Or, perhaps better: it would be unfortunate to tie your child's name to your career. They're their own person, don't start them out by telling them that they're not.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: February 14, 2020 at 11:48 PM (#5924555)
Clemens has 4 sons - Koby, Kory, Kacy, Kody
   22. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: February 15, 2020 at 08:11 AM (#5924568)
Zobrist appears to have been a competent defensive shortstop for much of his career, at least a Bogaerts level defender. Were the Rays acting too cute by switching him around the way they did?
I think that was the idea, but circumstance never allowed it. Zobrist opened the season as the Rays' SS in 2007, but hit 155/184/206 and lost the job in May, got it back in August, then lost it again. In the offseason the Rays acquired Jason Bartlett, a solid SS, to play the position for 2008-2010. In 2011 the Rays had a hole at SS, but Zobrist was the more or less full-time 2B that year. BBRef thinks that Elliot Johnson was bad at SS (-7 Rfield) in 2012, but thinks he was good in 2011 (+6) and 2013 (+12, in half a season in KC) and so was a reasonable choice to play there. Then Yunel Escobar, who was fine in 2013 and then seems to have collapsed defensively in 2014, by which time Zobrist was probably too old to move back to the position on a full-time basis.

IOW, if Zobrist had hit at all in 2007 then he'd probably have been the (Devil) Rays' regular SS for a good chunk of years.
   23. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 15, 2020 at 11:41 AM (#5924588)
Were the Rays acting too cute by switching him around the way they did?


I don't know about shortstop, but I've never understood why the Rays (i.e., Joe Maddon) didn't just park Zobrist at second base and leave him there.
   24. Red Voodooin Posted: February 15, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5924589)
I don't know about shortstop, but I've never understood why the Rays (i.e., Joe Maddon) didn't just park Zobrist at second base and leave him there.


It's pretty easy to understand. Because Javy Baez.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:01 PM (#5924591)
It's pretty easy to understand. Because Javy Baez.


He meant the first time Maddon managed Zobrist.

   26. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: February 15, 2020 at 02:46 PM (#5924618)
If Zobrist hadn't moved around so much, we wouldn't have been treated to that platoon of Akinori Iwamura and Gabe Gross or the platoon of Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce. The world is a better place for those platoons having existed.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: February 15, 2020 at 11:24 PM (#5924693)
#23 ... it's a fair enough question but Zo never seemed to have any trouble handling it and was good defensively in both positions so it's not clear there was any advantage in sticking him at one spot.

In the last decade, and especially with the move to the 13th pitcher, players who can play both IF and OF have become very useful, maybe even necessary (esp in the AL). You need 2 Cs and teams seem to feel they "need" 2 guys who can play SS and CF decently and then you want enough depth to withstand 2-3 short-term injuries, giving older guys day games off after night games, platoon, etc. Ideally 5 guys who can start in 3 OF spots, 5 guys who can start at 2B/SS/3B, somebody to take backup 1B duties and either the NL PH duties or all those AL DH PAs.

There must be a better way to find such guys but last year there were 63 players with at least 5 appearances at a specific IF spot (2B/SS/3B) and 5 at a specific OF spot. Eleven had 500+ PA, 9 more had 400+ and 10 more had 300+ and another 13 had 200+ PAs. What I'd like to do is something like 10 starts in both IF and OF but can't figure out how to do such a search. Still, just grabbing a quick example of somebody I never heard of, Dylan Moore (Ms) had 26 OF starts and 40 2B/SS/3B starts (and pitched an inning) while putting up 282 PA. On the other hand, I don't know if we really care about Brandon Lowe's 5 starts in RF when he had 60 at 2B.

So, somebody on the Rays was probably gonna have to handle both IF and OF. It just usually isn't somebody as good as Zobrist but there's no real problem making that player a full-time starter.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: February 15, 2020 at 11:37 PM (#5924695)
For the Cubs fans: https://youtu.be/cE_1ShFSrY0
   29. puck Posted: February 16, 2020 at 01:17 AM (#5924700)
#27 Garret Hampson was probably one of those guys, 299 PA's for the Rockies, 22 OF starts, 40 2B starts, 10 SS starts. 66 OPS+.

He seems somewhat typical of the role--a middle infielder who didn't hit well enough to cement his role as a starting 2B or SS. Then they start playing him in the OF despite not having a great middle infield bat.

Dylan Moore looks similar but hit better. Was he groomed from the start to be a utility guy? The position at which he has the most minor league defensive innings is shortstop, but 2nd most is 1st base. That's odd.
   30. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: February 16, 2020 at 09:45 AM (#5924708)
Once in a while a minor league team just doesn’t have a first baseman for an extended stretch, so they’ll put another infielder there for a while, or rotate a couple.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: February 16, 2020 at 08:33 PM (#5924790)
He seems somewhat typical of the role--a middle infielder who didn't hit well enough to cement his role as a starting 2B or SS.

Not sure how typical that is -- might be, I'll take a q&d look in a second. In most cases, who gets the role on this year's team depends on available talent. A crappy team like the Ms will trot out all sorts of weird lineups, especially if (say) they're putting some extra RHB in against a LHP. Even with Zo and the Rays, obviously they could have found a RHB OF to platoon with Gross but they already had Iwamura. Sean Rodriguez would later become one of these guys himself. Obviously it's rare for somebody as good as Zobrist to take on this kind of role (Tony Phillips is the only other one that springs to mind; maybe Merrifield will continue in this sort of role) but there have been a number of these guys who hit decently -- Mark deRosa for a while; Brock Holt; Jose Ramirez picked up 47 starts in LF in 2016. It's the sort of player that Ian Happ might become; it's a role Jeff McNeil could fill on the Mets.

Of course most of the guys in this role are bench guys -- so, yeah, if they could consistently put up a 105 OPS+ they'd be a starting 2B or 3B somewhere. Many 4th much less 5th OFs can't put up a 100 OPS+ so a backup 2B/3B who can put up a 90-95 OPS+ and can cover the OF when needed is probably a more efficient use of resources than carrying that same backup 2B/3B and a 5th OF even if that 5th OF can put up a 100 OPS+.

Anyway, of the 63 mentioned in #27, 26 of them had a 100+ OPS+ and another 8 made it to 90 (some of those very small samples). Overall, 26 are also credited with at least 0 WAA and some others are close enough.
   32. DanG Posted: February 17, 2020 at 04:12 PM (#5924925)
WAR leaders for 2B 2003-19:

Player         WARWAAOPSRfield   PA   Age
Robinson Cano  69.6 37.2  125   21.0 9264 22
-36
Chase Utley    65.4 41.8  117  141.0 7863 24
-39
Ian Kinsler    57.2 29.6  107  118.0 8299 24
-37
Dustin Pedroia 51.7 29.2  113   97.0 6777 22
-35
Ben Zobrist    45.2 22.0  113   60.0 6836 25
-38
Jose Altuve    38.5 20.6  127  
-23.0 5458 21-29
Howie Kendrick 32.9 11.1  109    2.0 6321 22
-35 
   33. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 17, 2020 at 06:14 PM (#5924954)
#23 ... it's a fair enough question but Zo never seemed to have any trouble handling it and was good defensively in both positions so it's not clear there was any advantage in sticking him at one spot.


The advantage is: It's a lot easier to find a right fielder who can hit than a second baseman who can hit. When you have a second baseman who can hit and field like Zobrist, but put him in right field, you're likely putting a weaker hitter at second, and maybe a weaker fielder as well. My question is, what's the benefit of that?

Look at it this way: Would there be any advantage for the Astros in sending Jose Alutve to right field 40 times a year?
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 17, 2020 at 06:22 PM (#5924958)
Would there be any advantage for the Astros in sending Jose Alutve to right field 40 times a year?
Less of a chance that a runner will try to break up a double play by ripping his jersey off.

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