San Francisco Giants in the Mix for Ben Zobrist
With the Tampa Bay Rays having recently signed SS Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year deal, there is rampant speculation that the Rays are shopping 2Bman Ben Zobrist, who becomes a free agent after the 2015 season. If the Rays are hoping to compete in 2015, it would probably make more sense for them to trade their current SS Yunel Escobar. However, Escobar is under contract through 2017 are a reasonable rate, and the market is probably more excited about Zobrist, because of the latter’s ability to play many defensive positions well and his high on-base percentages.
Zobrist does look like a perfect fit for the Giants, since he can platoon in left field with Gregor Blanco (Zobrist switch-hits, but hits lefties better), and can play 2B or 3B if either Joe Panik or Casey McGehee gets hurt or under-performs. Zobrist’s leaving in a year isn’t all that important to the Giants, since they are without question a team trying to squeeze another championship out of an aging team.
The question, of course, is just how much it will cost the Giants to get him, given that there are reportedly a great number of teams that would like to add Zobrist, if he is indeed available. It’s pretty much a given that the Rays will make the deal with whatever team gives them the best package of young players. The fact that Zobrist only has one year left of his contract is perhaps the one thing that will keep his trade value relatively modest.
There is also some question regarding how Zobrist would adjust to a new league after a long career exclusively in the Junior Circuit. However, he’s coming from an extreme pitchers’ park, so playing in AT&T Park shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
He’s also a veteran player who would likely fit in well in the Giants’ clubhouse, and, as I said, his high on-base percentages would help just about any major league line-up.