The Rays Tank: Ben Zobrist Is Awesome Edition

ST. PETERSBURG - APRIL 30: Outfielder Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays fouls off a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the game at Tropicana Field on April 30, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Rays lost yesterday. That's not good. Instead of dwelling on that fact, let's take a look at some news surrounding our most beloved team.

Injuries

Luke Scott continues to suffer from a mild left hamstring injury. The designated hitter received a cortisone shot Monday but said the muscle was still sore Tuesday. It's unknown when he'll return to the lineup, but the cold weather in both Detroit and Boston wouldn't seem to help the situation. He has a history of hamstring issues, dating back to 2010 with the Orioles. As long as his shoulder is feeling OK then there shouldn't be too much to worry about.

B.J. Upton should continue his rehab assignment today. He said he felt good after his debut Monday. Hopefully he'll be ready in time for the April 20th series against the Twins.

Contracts

The soon to be 30-year-old Ian Kinsler received a five year, $75 million contract. The soon to be 31-year-old Brandon Phillips got six years, $72.5 million. The soon to be 31-year-old Ben Zobrist is in the middle of a four year, $18 million contract. He'll make $4.5 million this season and $5.5 in 2013 with two club options of $7 and $7.5 million after that. Over the past three seasons no second basemen has been worth more fWAR than Zobrist's 19.2. Kinsler and Phillips have 15.8 and 13.6 respectively. If you take out defense and just use weighted on base average (wOBA), Kinsler has a slight lead over Zobrist at .363 to .362 while Phillips is farther down with .340. What I'm trying to say is, Ben Zobrist is awesome. And cheap. Very cheap.

  • Over at Baseball Nation, Rob Neyer asks if the Rays' shifts redefining how teams play defense. It's an interesting question. No one has shifted for hitters more over the past two seasons than the Rays. This season they've started to shift more for right handed hitters. If it works, or if other teams even think its working, then we're likely to see a bunch of copy cats in the coming years.
  • Is it time to end the practice of beanball? FanGraphs' Wendy Thurm thinks so. With the amount of money at stake it seems like only a matter of time before baseball curtails it.
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