With news that David Freese will lose nearly a month with a broken index finger after last night's hit-by-pitch, the need for the Angels to acquire another bat just became more urgent. It is no secret that Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce are there for the taking and either one should provide a substantial upgrade over Matt Joyce. However, one of Joyce's longtime teammates is also on the block and plays for a GM who is always looking to make a trade. Would Ben Zobrist be the best fit of all for the Halos?
Most of Zobrist's value throughout his career comes from his positional flexibility while providing solid offensive production. Now 34, Zobrist continues to be a steady contributor with the bat, posting a typical .259/.349/.423 line on the season with just 24 SO and 32 BB. While he won't provide much power these days, he is a switch hitter with no pronounced platoon split, who gets on base and logs more than 30 doubles a season. He would fit nicely in one of the top two spots of the Angels' batting order, perhaps pushing Calhoun behind Pujols and creating offensive depth that the Angels have been sorely lacking all season.
He continues to be a Swiss army knife with the glove, splitting his time almost evenly between second base and left field for Oakland. While Johnny G. has seized the job at second, the little guy could start to wear down as he approaches the dog days in his first big league season. Having a dynamic player like Zobrist on the roster would allow Scioscia to rest Giavotella on occasion without having to rely on inferior players like Featherston and Green. He has only four career games at third base but has fairly extensive experience at short, so I wouldn't be too nervous about him filling in at third, as well, especially with Freese laid up.
What would it take to land him? We know Beane has no issues trading within the division, though Stoneman might be more of a traditionalist in that regard. With DiPoto's staff still largely in place, perhaps they can guide ol' Bill and show him that rival general managers can indeed consummate a trade that is equitable for both sides. Zobrist is a pending free agent and not a game changer by any stretch, so Beane shouldn't expect to fetch any top-level prospects for two months of his services. Would a package built around Tropeano or Ellis and some lower level prospects get it done?
The Angels are currently on an offensive tear that we know is not sustainable. Zobrist would be a stabilizing presence in the order. While he and Cespedes provide essentially equal value with the bat, Ben would seem less susceptible to being overmatched by elite-level playoff pitching staffs with his patient, high-contact approach. Stoneman, it's your move. Do you really want your trade deadline legacy to be built around Alex Ochoa, or will you do something bold and help position this team to win you another ring?