Via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:
While the Cubs keep their eye on the pitching market as they mull a buyer’s approach for the trade deadline, one of their biggest targets heading into June is play-anywhere hitter Ben Zobrist of the Oakland Athletics, according to multiple sources.
Zobrist is capable of playing all over the diamond, so he’s a fit for just about every contending team. But the 34-year-old has a direct connection to Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who managed Zobrist when he was with the Rays, and Wittenmyer notes that Chicago actually tried to acquire Zobrist over the winter.
If the A’s go into early sell mode — their record right now is 19-33 — this could come together quickly.
Zobrist is scheduled to become a free agent five days after the conclusion of the 2015 World Series.
Didi Gregorius will wear a mask during games this year. That’s what the Phillies infielder tells the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe, so, that’s why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time.”
Gregorius will wear a mask both while batting and out in the field, he said.
A big reason for it is that he has a chronic kidney condition which makes him “high risk” under Major League Baseball’s safety protocols. He could opt out if he wanted to but Gregorius, who signed a $14 million deal with the Phillies last winter, is a free agent again this coming offseason. He is coming off of a down year in 2019, having hit .238/.276/.441 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI across 344 plate appearances. Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2018 and didn’t make his 2019 season debut until June 7. A big reason he took a one-year deal was to reestablish his value for next season’s go-around on the free agent market and he doesn’t want the long layoff going into what could be his last significant payday.
Major League Baseball is not requiring players or umpires to wear masks on the field during games or practices, though it is reportedly looking into clear face shields for home plate umpires to wear under their usual protective masks.
Gregorius will wear a mask to keep himself safe, he said, but he also notes in the article that “I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me.” Here’s hoping, given his vulnerability, everyone around him is being as safe as he is.