Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
After acquiring Cueto, the Kansas City Royals wasted little time in addressing their other need. Once Alex Gordon went down with his groin injury, the Royals needed another bat in the lineup. They struck quickly, plucking Ben Zobrist from the Oakland A’s, inserting him in left while Gordon was on the shelf. Then, when Omar Infante was lost for the season, Zobrist filled his spot at second base admirably.
Even though he struggled early in his time with the A’s, Zobrist had begun to heat up before coming to Kansas City, and he continued that solid play with the Royals. In his 59 games with the Royals, Zobrist produced a .284/.364/.453 batting line, hitting seven home runs and 16 doubles. In the postseason, Zobrist produced a .303/.360/.545 batting line, with eight doubles and two home runs.
Zobrist also added another element to the Royals lineup. The prefect second hitter, Zobrist displayed a patience that appeared to rub off on the team, as the Royals became more selective at the plate. While they were still aggressive, that tendency to swing outside the zone began to disappear, with their patience truly manifesting during their numerous postseason comebacks.
Quite simply, Ben Zobrist was the perfect fit for the Royals. His ability to play anywhere on the diamond, make contact and solid defense are essentially what the Royals have looked for in their lineup. Kansas City does have an opening n right field, and if Infante continues to struggle next season, Zobrist would be quite the excellent insurance policy.
Zobrist has mentioned that he would like to remain in Kansas City, and the Royals may well have interest in retaining his services. However, their ability to do so may well hinge on how quickly his market moves and what happens with Alex Gordon. However, if he is willing to take a two or three year contact, Zobrist could be with the Royals again next year.
Odds that Ben Zobrist returns to the Kansas City Royals: 30%
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