Less than a week ago, the Cubs were reportedly one of the four teams seriously pursuing a trade for Ben Zobrist along with the Nationals, Giants and Angels. But Matt Silverman worked out a deal with Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s on Saturday that sent Ben Zobrist to the West Coast.
According to multiple reports, the A’s acquired Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar from the Rays for C John Jaso, cash, and a pair of prospects, SS Daniel Robertson and OF Boog Powell.
Susan Slusser reported the A’s plan to play Ben Zobrist at second and Yunel Escobar at shortstop with Marcus Semien in a super-sub role.
The Athletics did not receive any cash in the deal and will pay all of the $7.5 million owed to Ben Zobrist and the remaining $13 million owed to Yunel Escobar ($5 million in 2015; $7 million in 2016; $7 million club option in 2017 with $1 million buyout).
Oakland was expected to trade John Jaso this winter. Jaso has dealt with concussion issues and played only 70 games in 2013 and 99 games in 2014. Jaso batted .264/.337/.430 with 18 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and a .767 OPS last year.
The Rays received Oakland’s top prospect in SS Daniel Robertson. There are questions if he will stay at shortstop, but after sending Addison Russell to the Cubs last summer, Robertson was ranked as Oakland’s top prospect.
Robertson played in High-A ball as a 20-year old last year and hit .310/.402/.471 in 132 games with 37 doubles, three triples and 15 home runs for a .873 OPS.
Boog Powell, or Herschel Mack Powell, just turned 21 years old. The lefty hitting outfielder is the mid-range prospect the Rays wanted in return for Zobrist. Powell made it to High-A as a 20-year old last year and batted .377/.449/.459 in 14 games with a .908 OPS. Over two levels in Oakland’s system, Powell hit .343/.451/.435 with 10 doubles, five triples and three home runs for a .886 OPS in 83 games.
Boog Powell was suspended for 50 games for amphetamines.