If Eric Sogard had been voted the “Face of Major League Baseball” this past off-season, this situation would be really awkward.
With their sheer dominance of the rest of the league thus far, the Oakland Athletics are a team with few glaring weaknesses. That is the luxury you have when your team has outscored the competition by a +130 run differential through the first few months of the season.
One area that they might want to address is their second base position. The aforementioned Sogard and utility infielder Nick Punto have combined to play solid defense but provide almost no offensive punch. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the A’s might explore the second base trade market between now and the July 31st deadline:
Scouts following the A’s lately believe the American League’s top team has just one weakness: second base.
“They could use more production there,” one scout said Saturday. “That’s where they could use some help.”
Slusser also notes that such a trade might not be easy to find. The A’s might not be willing to pay the price in prospects for a guy like Chase Utley. If not, there are not many other options to pursue.
A name to watch would be Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays. Once the Rays actually admit that they are sellers, they have a prized piece in Zobrist. The A’s could put him in his best position at second base and in a spot to contribute his skill-set to a well-rounded and deep lineup.
Zobrist has also been tied to contending teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and possibly the Toronto Blue Jays. If you step back and take a look, Zobrist looks like the platonic ideal of an Oakland A’s player. If those two teams talk, it sure looks like a logical fit to me.