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Back in June, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported that the Tampa Bay Rays “might listen” to trade proposals for second baseman Ben Zobrist. Stark had his doubts, however, citing “one executive who has spoken with the Rays’ brass came away believing it would be ‘really, really difficult’ for them to come to grips with dealing him.”
That sentiment makes sense, of course. Zobrist is a multidimensional player capable of driving an offense and playing several positions.
How much longer can they afford to keep him on the 25-man roster, though?
In the past week alone, the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners have been rumored to have interest in Zobrist, per Marc Topkin from the Tampa Bay Times.
Of those three, the Giants seem to be the best fit. That is, at least, if you ask Chris Haft and Ryan Hood from MLB.com:
Zobrist, 33, also is viewed as a possible fit for the Giants. The two-time All-Star can play second base, where San Francisco likely will need depth even if Marco Scutaro overcomes his back injury. Zobrist also has extensive experience in the outfield, an area of some concern for the Giants due to the spotty offensive production from Gregor Blanco and Tyler Colvin.
It would be a mistake to count out the Mariners and Reds, however. They both have a need and could find a way to package minor league talent with players currently on their 25-man rosters to make a deal happen.
Either way, the return the Rays could get for Zobrist may be too great for general manager Andrew Friedman to ignore. Expect for the conversations regarding the switch-hitter to intensify over the next two weeks.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are accurate through Sunday, July 13. Transaction, injury, scouting report, prospect ranking and game information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information was pulled from Cot’s Contracts.