The 2016 version of the Atlanta Braves figure to have plenty of holes, but one player who has the versatility to fill any of those potential holes is Ben Zobrist. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Braves are currently pursuing the 35-year old utilityman, but they'll have a handful of teams that they'll be bidding against.
"…in the short- and long-term. Ben Zobrist brings so much to the table on and off the field that he could help all 30 teams."
"…in the short- and long-term. Ben Zobrist brings so much to the table on and off the field that he could help all 30 teams."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 29, 2015
Now, when you consider the other teams that are in the running for Zobrist's signature and compare their situation to the situation that the Braves are in, then it's pretty safe to say that even though Zobrist is entering the tail-end of his career, the Braves are probably the longshots in this situation. Players like Zobrist who bring his type of positional versatility are extremely valued in today's game, and I'm sure that any team in baseball would take a guy who hit .276/.359/.450 with 13 HRs and 123 wRC+ last year. He's definitely not the dynamo that he was in his prime, but again, anybody would take a guy who is still putting up 2.1 fWAR at this point in his career, which is why it'd be a longshot for an obviously-rebuilding team to pick him up.
With that being said, this move could make sense for both parties. As Rosenthal noted above, Zobrist could cover any number of positions that the Braves could possibly need him in, and at this point in his career, he could also serve as a tutor/model/mentor for the younger Braves, since the team is clearly building for the future here.
Plus, there's always the possibility that the Braves could use him as an asset and flip him for value at the trade deadline to a team that actually figures to be in the playoff race if all goes well. Either way, Ben Zobrist signing with the Braves would make sense for both parties if it were to come to fruition.
Will it happen? I doubt it, and there's always the possibility that this is just the Braves front office just saying "See! We're going after Ben Zobrist so this obviously means that we aren't tanking! So shut up about your stupid tanking!" Still, you can definitely see the upside for Zobrist and the Braves if they decided to link together for future.