Cleveland Indians: 3 free agents that could make a difference in the lineup

Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Ben Zobrist, Cleveland Indians
Ben Zobrist #18 of the Chicago Cubs (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Ben Zobrist – 39 years old – Second Base, Shortstop, Outfield

The Chicago Cubs took away one of Cleveland’s heroes this offseason in Jason Kipnis, so why not sign the 2016 World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist?

At 39 years old, Zobrist should be looking for a ring over a paycheck. Sure, he won with the Cubs in 2016 and the Royals in 2015, but I’m sure he wouldn’t turn away from another ring. His age should also result in a cheap, one-year deal that would be club friendly.

What Zobrist would bring to Cleveland fits what the team needs really well. He would be able to better fill the role that Mike Freeman currently plays as a depth middle infielder as well as left fielder.

Through Freeman’s first 10 games in 2020 he is slashing just .167/.250/.222 with one RBI and one double as his only extra-base hit.

Now, Zobrist only played 47 games last season with Chicago, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be able to contribute to the Indians’ postseason push. In 2018, his last “full” season, playing in 139 games Zobrist was able to slash .305/.378/.440 with 58 RBI, 28 doubles and nine home runs, all of which would be a vast improvement over Freeman.

Zobrist would also add another switch-hitter to the lineup that would slot into the six-hole well behind the right-handed power bat of Franmil Reyes. He could also bat second and bump a struggling Jose Ramirez down in the order where he might be more comfortable while keeping four switch-hitters at the top of the Indians’ lineup.

The last thing we’ll touch on is Zobrist’s postseason experience. Zobrist has appeared in 64 playoff games, including 12 World Series games between 2015 and 2016. In an expanded postseason format this year, that veteran presence and leadership could play a big role down the stretch.