Are the Giants still on the lookout for a left fielder? According to Peter Gammons’ latest column, several people in the know who think they’re targeting a player who saw time in left field, right field, center field, second base and shortstop in 2014.
If, as several GMs think, the Giants are going to trade prospects for Ben Zobrist, would they hold into what’s left and sign James Shields as a free agent?
We’ve been told that the Giants had interest in Zobrist — a free agent after the 2015 season — on two separate occasions: in July (when the Rays apparently wanted four of the Giants’ top prospects for David Price OR Zobrist) and earlier this month, when a source close to the team said they were interested in possibly trading for Zobrist, Martin Prado and/or Doug Fister. Since then, the Yankees traded Prado to the Marlins, who dealt Casey McGehee to the Giants shortly thereafter.
Who knows about Shields or Fister. I’m inclined to believe the Giants will go into next season with the rotation as is, unless a trade offer is just too good to pass up. But Zobrist is clearly a player who’s been on Brian Sabean’s radar for quite some time. It’s clear why — plus offensive players who possess that kind of versatility are hard to find, and Zobrist isn’t making an incredible amount in 2015 ($7.5 million). Adding Zobrist would provide outfield depth the Giants haven’t had while dealing with Angel Pagan’s injuries, as well as insurance in case Joe Panik regresses, Brandon Crawford gets hurt or McGehee doesn’t pan out for whatever reason.
But at what cost? The Rays might want to lower their payroll, but they’re holding an extremely valuable trade chip. Would the Giants part with pitchers like Kyle Crick, Clayton Blackburn, Tyler Beede or Keury Mella, after dealing Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree for Jake Peavy in July? With Buster Posey’s offensive numbers while playing first base so out-of-this-world, and Hector Sanchez’s concussion concerns, is Andrew Susac a player they would pawn off for a year of Zobrist? Would it take more than one upper-tier prospect to get a deal done?
One might wonder if it’s even worth worrying about. It’s just a rumor, after all. Here’s the last one we discussed from Gammons, which he posted during the World Series.
General managers from other teams don’t think the Giants will let Pablo Sandoval go, but Sunday one member of their ownership group said there is a swelling thinking that the Red Sox will end up signing The Panda. “The bigger the stage, the better he plays,” says one Giant official. “He would love Boston.” Of course, the Giants sell out every game, the debt service on the ballpark is paid off in 2017 and it is one of the most valuable franchises in the game.
We can’t trust these general managers 100%, it would seem. However, if Gammons hears from someone in the Giants’ ownership group that they’re going to trade for Zobrist, we can probably call it a done deal.