It has just been announced on social media that Alberto Callaspo has changed his number from #18 to #7. This has many believing that the A’s have made a trade. The player that wears #18 that makes the most sense is Ben Zobrist.
The Tampa Bay Rays have baseball’s worst record, and play in arguably the toughest division. This could have them thinking “sell” even though it’s still early enough to make a comeback.
Ben Zobrist fits into the Athletics system very well. He is a utility player, playing second, shortstop and right field. He is primarily used up the middle, where the A’s could use a boost over Eric Sogard. Zobrist’s WAR is at 1.9, while Sogard is slightly better than average at 0.3.
Zobrist is a career .262 hitter with a .336 OBP and has averaged 88 runs a season over the past 3 years. With the rate that the Athletics get on base, Zobrist would be a run machine, much like Craig Gentry and Coco Crisp. Zobrist’s contract is up after this season, which actually works well for the A’s. That means they would have to give up less because Zobrist would be considered more of a rental, opposed to getting him for a couple of seasons. The A’s also have Addison Russell in the minors and he could be ready to start in Oakland in 2015.
Again, this is pure speculation and no trade has been announced. An addition of Zobrist to the Athletics’ lineup would fix any holes that exist in the A’s current lineup. It would also improve the bottom of the order, whether he is batting lower, or another player like Derek Norris gets pushed down, it would be an improvement over the current lineup. Here’s hoping Billy Beane has pulled this off.