BEN ZOBRIST (THE RENTAL)
Jun 30, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) hits a single against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
I wouldn’t bet on this scenario, but if the White Sox are able to continue their tear, then Hahn might not be hesitant to pull the trigger on a rental, and if he does prefer to lease, then Oakland Athletics’ infielder Ben Zobrist is his guy.
Zobrist would be the perfect addition to this team. He’s hitting .261/.346/.429 and has continued to show gap power even as a 34 year-old. That .346 OBP would look quite good on a team starved for baserunners.
Zobrist can also immediately slot into second base, allowing Micah Johnson to get more seasoning at Triple-A and enabling him to be used as a speedy bench option assuming he gets a September call-up.
Carlos Sanchez could be optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte or dangled in a trade himself, although his value would be extremely minimal at this point.
Zobrist is a veteran influence in the clubhouse and the type of spark the 2015 club is desperate for.
Acquiring Zobrist will surely come at a steep price. Although he’ll be just a rental, there figures to be quite the bidding war for his services.
I think Oakland would send him to the South Side if offered the following package:
Johnson is experiencing a nice bounce back year after a disastrous 2014. Last season is starting to look like an anomaly as he recently earned the International League All-Star game starting bid on the backs of a 2.73 ERA over 15 starts at Triple-A Charlotte.
His 10.01 SO/9 ratio would also look attractive to the Athletics.
Meanwhile Thompson was also an all-star for the Charlotte Knights this year, with a .268/.314/.446 line with some nice numbers in the power department as well. Thompson’s combination of speed, pop, and plus defense would make the Southern California product attractive to Oakland.
In fact, his brother Klay Thompson plays basketball across the street for the Golden State Warriors. What a marketing opportunity!
To balance out this deal, Oakland could send reliever Clippard (2.43 ERA) to the White Sox with Zobrist because it never hurts to add a bullpen reinforcement.
Hahn has a good relationship with assistant GM David Frost in Oakland and considering how seamless the Samardzija trade went, I have little doubt that a deal like this could get done.
Next: A core player in Cincinnati could be the right piece