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Giants interested in Ben Zobrist

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Second base has been a wasteland for most of the season. The Rays' second baseman would help.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

You're not thinking about the trade deadline. You're thinking about the Giants being terrible. Over the last 30 days, they've played like they're 25 pieces short of a contender, give or take. Still, as long as they're in contention, rumors like this will play. From Chris Haft and Ryan Hood at SFGiants.com

The already active speculation about the Giants' interest in Tampa Bay handyman Ben Zobrist has increased.

Giants special assignment scout Pat Burrell recently was seen at Tropicana Field, where other San Francisco scouts have visited -- and not just when David Price pitches.

"How about we get out of here and we show each other our turf burns?"

Zobrist is, almost certainly the best trade option on the market for the Giants.

Consider he's ...

  • under contract for a $7.5 million team option next year
  • an outfielder in addition to a second baseman, giving the Giants offseason flexibility
  • used to playing in a hitter's wasteland, so he wouldn't have delicate sensibilities to crush
  • good at not making outs, with decent power
  • a switch-hitter

Zobrist has been a fetish of mine for years, so I'm for it, even if he's already 33.

The Giants aren't the only team keen on him, though. The A's -- rattled by their inability to outscore the Giants by a combined 20 runs in the season -- are desperate for a second baseman, too. The Cardinals aren't sure about Kolten Wong yet. The Blue Jays and Orioles have been even worse than the Giants at second, if you can believe it.

It would cost an arm and a Crick, I'm thinking. That's a lot for just 2015. Assuming you're in bed because you've given up on this season, like the rest of us. (Note: this is a joke. The Giants can play better and they're still contending. Krusty is coming, et cetera.)

The last time the Giants traded top prospects for an over-30 second baseman in what was eventually a lost season? Freddy Sanchez. That worked out just fine. This is probably the same thing. Except Zobrist is going to put them over the top this year, dang it.

The real question is if this is the best use of the Giants' most valuable trade assets -- an over-30 second baseman signed through just next year. That's an open question, but I don't see a better fit out there. It's going to cost a lot. Jim Bowden thinks the Giants could tempt the Rays with a package based on Heath Hembree, Kendry Flores, and/or Andrew Susac. I'm dubious, but I hope he's close.