The Kansas City Royals acquisition of Ben Zobrist was certainly well received. He could slot in at either right field or second base once Alex Gordon returns, lengthening the lineup and strengthening one of two positions that were considered to be almost automatic outs in the batting order. By bringing in Zobrist, the Royals appeared as though they may have that piece they had been missing almost all season.
It was also understood that Zobrist was a rental. His time in Kansas City was measured by months, not years. A player with his versatility and production would certainly be a highly sought after commodity in free agency, likely to receive an offer that the Royals would be unable to match. However, that expected departure after the season may not happen, as Zobrist has stated his interest in remaining with the Royals beyond this year.
"“I mean, yes,” Zobrist said. “Certainly, this had been one of the teams I liked the look of. And now, since I’ve been here, it’s a place I want to stay longer. Being here has certainly done nothing but make this [team] go up on my list.”"
More from KC Royals Rumors
- KC Royals Rumors: Club should pass on this Yankee
- MLB Trade Deadline Rumors: KC Royals at a glance
- KC Royals Rumors: Is club pulling the trade trigger?
- Wainwright deal would create issues for KC Royals
- KC Royals Trade Rumors: Will Whit Merrifield be on the move?
While it had been thought that the Kansas City Royals could consider bringing back Ben Zobrist after this season, it was anticipated that such a move would occur strictly if the Royals were unable to bring back Alex Gordon. However, as David Glass and the Royals front office have opened their checkbooks in the past few seasons, and have stated their intent to make Gordon a lifetime member of the Royals, that may not be the case. Instead of choosing between Gordon and Zobrist, the Royals may be able to get both.
As with Gordon, the Royals may also be able to use their location as a selling point with Zobrist. He lives in Nashville in the offseason, which is relatively close to Kansas City. He grew up in the area for a period of time, and his family went to college in the area. It is a place that he said he still visits, giving the Royals a possible advantage over other teams interested in his services.
It also helps that Zobrist has fit in perfectly in the Royals lineup and culture. As someone who spent the majority of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, a team who focused on clubhouse chemistry, Zobrist had filled a variety of roles within the locker room. In the lineup, his ability to take pitches and make contact has had a trickle down effect on the rest of the team, as the Royals have been more patient now than in the past.
Ben Zobrist is the type of player that the Kansas City Royals look for. As it turns out, that postseason rental may be a lot more permanent.