Mets, A’s “discussing pieces” for Ben Zobrist trade

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Via Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News

The Mets have gotten as far as discussing pieces with the A’s for a possible deal for Ben Zobrist, a source told the News Tuesday afternoon.

The A’s have identified the prospects they would need to send the veteran utility man to New York, but nothing is imminent, the source said.

Zobrist is also reportedly drawing interest from the Yankees, Giants, and Nationals, but the Mets are said to be willing to overpay to get him from the A’s because how desperate they are for an upgrade on offense. Zobrist is capable of playing just about anywhere on the diamond defensively, which makes him a fit for any and every contending team.

The versatile 34-year-old has a .768 OPS (114 OPS+) in 61 games this season for the A’s, who stand just 43-51 and should be one of the more active sellers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. Scott Kazmir, Josh Reddick, and Eric O’Flaherty are some of the other Oakland players who could be on the move.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.