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Oakland A's trade for Ben Zobrist; Tigers still quiet on free agent market

The A's and Rays struck a big deal today, swapping five players. Meanwhile, the Tigers are still mum on all fronts, including with Max Scherzer.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Any dreams of seeing Ben Zobrist in a Tigers uniform will have to wait for at least one more season. The Tampa Bay Rays finally traded Zobrist after an offseason full of rumors, shipping him and Yunel Escobar to the Oakland Athletics for John Jaso and minor leaguers Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell.

The A's offseason has been one of confusion thus far, but this move signals that they still plan on contending in the American League West in 2015. The A's had previously unloaded Josh Donaldson, Jeff Samardzija, and Derek Norris in a trio of deals that left the team in a precarious position for the upcoming season.

Zobrist, in particular, is a big addition. He has compiled at least five wins above replacement in five of the past six seasons, and has the ability to play multiple positions. The 33-year-old switch-hitter batted .272/.354/.395 with 47 extra base hits and 10 stolen bases in 654 plate appearances last season.

Escobar isn't the hitter that Zobrist is, but his glove at shortstop has provided plenty of value in the past. He hit .258/.324/.340 in 529 plate appearances last season and was worth just 0.2 WAR. However, the 32-year-old has 20.8 WAR in eight big league seasons, including four seasons with 3.0 WAR or more. He has a .668 OPS in the past three seasons, though.

The Tigers were never explicitly linked to Zobrist, but his versatility and skill made him a natural fit for virtually any team in baseball. However, after the Tigers traded for Yoenis Cespedes, their lineup was largely set for the upcoming season. Some aren't giving up hope, though!

The Tigers' rotation remains a question mark despite a plethora of starters in the organization. Earlier this week, the St. Louis Cardinals expressed interest in trading for left-hander David Price, and the rumors surrounding Max Scherzer continue to run rampant. One source, according to Tony Paul of the Detroit News, says that the Tigers "have to have him."

With uncertainty surrounding the rotation in 2016 and beyond, the notion makes sense. Scherzer would give the Tigers an excellent 1-2-3 punch after next season, when Price will presumably leave via free agency. The Tigers have otherwise been mum on the Scherzer front, with very little (if any) contact between them and Scherzer's camp.