Saturday, the San Francisco Giants signed free agent pitcher Jeff Samardzija, the team’s reported ‘Plan B’ option, after losing out on the Zack Greinke sweepstakes. Now, it appears another player is walking away from the opportunity to spend the next few years by the Bay at AT&T Park.
When Ben Zobrist decides where he will sign, all of Major League Baseball should be prepared to see a flood of position players start to sign deals, quickly. Zobrist spent the better part of last season across the water as a member of the Oakland Athletics, and during his short stay, I must say, he was an absolute joy to work with, and a true gentleman whenever I ran into him in the clubhouse.
On Monday, just one day after Zobrist reportedly visited San Francisco, general manager Bobby Evans said he’d rather not comment on the details, and that the game’s best utility man envisions his future as second base. Permanently. Despite his season-ending back surgery, the Giants fully anticipate the return of all star second baseman Joe Panik next year.
Evans told CSNBayArea’s Alex Pavlovic that Panik has been cleared for offseason training, and is preparing to travel to San Francisco’s facility in Scottsdale.
“Joe is doing great,” Evans said.
This would likely leave Washington, and the New York Mets, as probable destination’s for Zobrist.
For the Giants, Zobrist was viewed as a viable option to fill the role in left field. The numbers are stacked in the 34-year-olds favor — Zobrist has played 111 career games in left and 616 at second. San Francisco’s outfield is a unit built on fundamentals of athleticism and utility — the ability to move from left to center to right — and Evans has said the team would prefer to find a player who can spend some significant time in the city since both Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco will be free agents after the 2016 season.
However, Evans has also said they’re “not zeroed in on one guy.”
Another name that’s been thrown in the pot is Dexter Fowler — who if you can believe it, just rejected a qualifying offer from the Chicago Cubs. During his only season in Wrigleyville, Fowler was the team’s every day leadoff hitter and center fielder. Fowler hit .250 with 17 home runs for the Cubs, along with 20 stolen bases. Reports have speculated that Fowler will garner a four-year deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-$65 million.
The Mets have also reportedly made a push for Fowler, but if Zobrist if their main focus, count on them pushing even harder to ink that deal.
In case you, or Bobby Evans has forgotten, there is a monster left fielder available, who values the athleticism the baseball traits any team would want. He played in the same playoffs and World Series that Zobrist did last season, and almost single-handedly won the Mets their first title since 1986: Yoenis Cespedes.
David Barclay is an byteclay.com staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DJamesIII