Report: Nationals have contacted the Athletics about Ben Zobrist

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals have contacted the Athletics in regards to Ben Zobrist. If the Nats were to land Zobrist, Rosenthal writes, he could play left field until Jayson Werth returns, then serve as utilityman, playing in the infield or the outfield as needed.

The Yankees are also interested in Zobrist, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Cubs are reportedly interested as well as the Mets.

Zobrist spent just over a month on the disabled list between late April and late May due to arthroscopic knee surgery. The versatile 34-year-old is batting .222/.304/.383 with two home runs, 14 RBI, and one stolen base in 92 plate appearances this season. He is earning $7.5 million for the 2015 campaign and can become a free agent at season’s end.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).