Ben Zobrist’s Big Choice
BY Rich Herrera – @RBIRich
The news of the Rays series win along with David Price rebounding back into form wearing borrowed socks is now over shadowed by the loss of Ben Zobrist. Zobrist was sliding into second base on attempted steal. He was aboard on a base hit and trying to get into scoring position. His head first slide was met with a strong throw from the Mariners catcher that beat him to the bag. In an attempt to elude the tag Zobrist went into a Michael Phelps swim stoke pulling his arm up to avoid the tag. When he brought the arm back down to tag he base he awkwardly jammed his thumb into the base and right away grimaced in pain and grabbed his hand. He dislocated the thumb and when he came out the game medical personal popped the thumb back onto place.
The Rays now face a big decision on what to do with Zobrist. They can wait and see how his thumb feels today and play a man down for a few days while he waits for his thumb to get better using Sean Rodriguez and Logan Forthsythe to fill in for Zobrist. They can put him on the DL and bring up Cole Figueroa up from Durham and have him split time with Rodriguez and Forsythe. Either way losing Zobrist is not good for the Rays.
Ben Zobrist has a bigger decision to make for himself. Thumbs are hard injuries to read. Sometimes its just sprain and you can bounce back. Sometimes it lingers for a long time and you try to play through it. Sometimes you are just never he same. Remember you really have only two digits to keep the bat wrapped into your fingers. Once you lose the strength in your grip your power can go away. Your swing can be effected. We have seen players try to play through it and their offensive output goes down the tank. Ryan Hannigan had one last year and his batting average dropped below he Mendoza Line. Ouch.
We can look at Bryce Harper with the injury that he suffered on the base paths and he needed surgery after the swelling went down and he saw a hand specialist. Zobrist is in the last year of his current deal that pays him 7 million a year. The Rays hold a 7 1/2 million option on Ben with a 500,000 dollar buy out if they don’t want him. Either way what Ben does the rest of the year will come into the thought process if they Rays pick up his option, or not. If they don’t his production will play into what teams will be willing to offer him in the future. That’s why Ben and his camp need to sit down and think about what is best for him and his family as well as the Rays. The choice he makes will effect not only him and he team. He needs to make the choice to either rush back to help the Rays even if he is not 100% or wait until he is healthy and his production is not effected. Knowing Ben will be bouncing off the walls to get back, but he needs to make sure he ways what is best for everyone including himself.