After being brutally humbled by the arch-rival Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend, it’s become clear the San Francisco Giants need to make a swift change at second base in order to solidify their lineup. Crucial injuries to several name brand players have crippled the Giants’ ability to score runs. They managed to register a grand total of four runs in three games while being swept at home in a series that saw them take a backseat to the Dodgers in the NL West, maybe for good.
The Giants 1.5-game deficit behind the Dodgers in the West matches their biggest gap of the 2014 MLB season. Somehow, the Giants have managed to stay afloat, which could prompt long-time General Manager Brian Sabean to pull the trigger on another deal before the non-waiver trade deadline, specifically at second base. Waiver pickup Dan Uggla has been a dud in three games, failing to register a base hit while committing three costly errors.
San Francisco has been linked to several players presumed to be available on the trade front this summer, but one name in particular continues to surface. Tampa Bay Rays‘ super utility-man Ben Zobrist is reportedly at the top of the Giants’ wish list. According to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, the Giants would aggressively attempt to acquire the 33-year-old if the Rays were to become sellers.
Tampa’s recent surge has deterred GM Andrew Friedman from seriously engaging in potential roster-altering moves. At the moment, the Rays (51-54) remain a long-shot to earn a postseason bid and remain 7.5 games back in the mediocre AL East. Tampa has faced midseason division deficits such as the one they’re encountering now, though, providing the team’s front office with some optimism.
Zobrist would be an ideal fit for the Giants for several reasons. He’s an impending free agent who shouldn’t yield a gigantic return, although the Rays seemingly feel otherwise. Zobrist can play multiple positions, such as second base, shortstop and left field, which would grant Manager Bruce Bochy flexibility in filling out his lineup card. The nine-year veteran is also consistent. To date, he’s posted a respectable .268 batting average with 30 extra-base hits and 48 runs scored in 347 official at-bats. He owns a career .263 average.
The Giants remain hopeful that leadoff hitter Angel Pagan and ascending first baseman Brandon Belt can return to the everyday lineup ready and able to contribute, but the club’s void at second base remains problematic. Rookies Ehire Adrianza and Joe Panik have flashed signs of promise, although neither player is good enough to handle a tooth-and-nail division race—that is—assuming the Giants can stay close.