For San Francisco Giants fans who still have their collective breath held waiting for management to pull a trigger-any one will do-the news from assistant general manager Bobby Evans that the Giants are “still engaged” in discussions with Ben Zobrist comes as a lifesaver in terms of bated breath.
With Max Scherzer’s name out of the picture and James Shields seeking a five-year deal in the neighborhood of $100 million, the Orange and Black would appear to be running short of available options with which to reinforce the 2015 Giants.
Mike Krukow weighed in on the discussion Monday, as reported in a CSNBAYAREA staff report, asserting that Zobrist is “a good player…a Sabean-type player.” Krukow went on to add that the versatile Zobrist, who has spent all his nine seasons in the big leagues with Tampa Bay, “is a grinder. Those type of players are invaluable.”
The rule of thumb, however, is you pay to play. Because he has played extensively at first, second and shortstop, and all three outfield positions, Zobrist will come at a steep price.
Nothing worth having is going to come cheap; pony up Brian Sabean and pay the ante.
After all, it’s not as though the Rays can’t see for themselves that the Giants may be sliding down the slippery slope of desperation, if indeed the plan is to at least make some semblance of effort to keep up with the Joneses down in SoCal, both of them.
It’s no secret that both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have taken their respective lineups, dumped them out on the table like so many Tinker Toys, and reassembled them in what many believe to be considerably stronger units than last season. Should the Giants not follow suit, would that not create more of an uphill climb than the Giants are capable of achieving?
Oct 26, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik is unable to field a ball hit for a single by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (not pictured) in the 7th inning during game five of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
So what are the stakes? According to Krukow, “It’s going cost you someone pretty good,” suggesting that whereas Joe Panik and Andrew Susac were probably untouchable, both Hunter Strickland and Matt Duffy would be expendable for a prize such as Zobrist, a career .264 hitter with a .354 on-base percentage.
The acquisition of Ben Zobrist would ostensibly complete the refurbishing of the 2015 version of the San Francisco Giants, what with the recent re-signing of veteran starting pitcher, Jake Peavy. The Giants’ logic has to include the knowledge that the return of Matt Cain, Angel Pagan and Brandon Belt to full-time status, will help bolster the club.
The only question may be how much of that chemistry drained out of the beaker with the departure of two of the most essential elements to Giants’ success in the 2014 postseason: Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval. Is it possible that Casey McGehee and Ben Zobrist could somehow provide that which has fled the building?
Apr 13, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee (9) hits an RBI single during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The answer is unquestionably yes for two reasons: The first of San Francisco’s three recent world championships was earned without help from either player, so that is not a factor. Second, the chemistry infusing the Giants has no expiration date as long as the core includes the likes of Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Hunter Pence, Sergio Romo, Angel Pagan and Brandon Crawford.
Why stop there? Beginning with Bruce Bochy at the top, just list the twenty-five roster players and there’s your chemistry-filled beaker. Like many of life’s intangibles, it just is and Giants fans are grateful.
One thing that is tangible, however, is that World Series trophy about to embark on a tour of NorCal’s hotbeds of Giants fandom, beginning in my own neck of the woods, here in Willits, Friday.
That’s chemistry in action.