As far as players seemingly always on the trade rumor circuit, Ben Zobrist is in a league all his own.
The ‘super utility’ player, who joined the Oakland Athletics prior to this season, is once again dealing with a ceaseless hum of trade buzz around him wherever he goes. His status as a free-agent-to-be makes him an alluring ‘rental’ player for clubs seeking improvement ahead of the July 31 trading deadline, and that’s before even considering that his current general manager, Billy Beane, is known for making flashy trades.
Despite that, and despite the fact that the under-achieving 2015 A’s are still (barely) in last place in the AL West, Zobrist deflected trade talk when asked about it at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
Zobrist, who Slusser notes is hitting .347 with 15 RBIs and 14 walks in his past 22 games, responded diplomatically to the rush of attention: "It’s good to be wanted. But it really doesn’t make a difference how I go about my business and helping my team win.”
When asked for comments specifically about his thoughts on New York (since the Yankees and Mets both presumably want his services), Zobrist responded coyly, "I like it as much as I like any other city in the big leagues."
Even more intriguing than his comments on trade buzz were his thoughts on the A’s, who begin play Wednesday 39-47 and seven games out of a Wild Card spot: "We have to see how things play out here. We’ve been playing really well the past four weeks and if we are to go on a run here, we have a legitimate chance. It’s not up to us (players), but no one is giving up on anything.”
With just 23 days remaining until the trade deadline, how the A’s fare over the next few weeks will go a long way toward determining their 2015 fate – and where Zobrist plays the final few months of the season.