With the Cincinnati Reds on the verge of an ugly three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees, current general manager Walt Jocketty spoke with former GM Jim Bowden on Sunday morning about the team’s plans in the face of injuries and a continued poor offensive showing in the Bronx. When asked about the possibility of acquiring Tampa Bay Rays infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist, Jocketty’s curt answer seemed to leave the door open and maybe even indicated something was brewing. As Bowden reported via Twitter:
— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 20, 2014
As we detailed here last week, Zobrist could fit into the Reds’ current situation in a variety of ways since he can play all over the infield and in left field, and because he has a history of solid offensive production. His numbers are down slightly this season but would still represent a boost for the Reds. Moving to a contender for a few weeks often does wonders for one’s bat, too, as we saw last season with Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano.
At this point, Zobrist is no secret, and several suitors have been mentioned in association with his name. Chief among those teams are the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners, who both may be kicking around an even bigger deal with the Rays, one involving ace David Price. In other words, the bidding for Zobrist will be intense, the Jocketty may have to surrender starter Tony Cingrini or some of the team’s top minor league talent to acquire the Ray.
Whether or not the Reds are able to swing a deal for Zobrist, it’s at least refreshing to hear that Jocketty is considering pathways to upgrade the team. Cincinnati has a $112-million payroll that surely will make it hard for them to add even more salary, but they need bats in order to capitalize on the fine starting pitching that they have been able to trot out to the mound this season.
Zobrist would be a solid addition, but Jocketty can’t dally in his decisions if the Reds want to stay in the race as August approaches.