So, last week I made a comment about all the trade rumors I’d been seeing about Ben Zobrist, and rumors that the Tampa Bay Rays were going to demand like they did at the trading deadline: Crick, Susac and more.

Oops. Not long thereafter, I got a series of tweets in response from an irate Rays fan that thought I was insane, and whose paraphrased tweets inspired today’s comic.  I won’t give that guy any fame by posting his tweets here, but yeah, that was just silly.  I retired myself from the “discussion” pretty quickly, but when I woke up the next morning I had a good couple of dozen follow-ups from him and others he argued with, with @SFLunaticFringe still tagged on them. The zealousness of the retorts that I had somehow minimalized Ben Zobrist and offended his honor and…I don’t know, had committed myself to a duel at high noon using Devil Rays as weapons…?  But it did remind me as a young, overzealous sports fan.  I’m calmer now, no less offended by the logic-less, but less willing to engage them for too long.  But the episode was rather embarrassing for other fans of his team, I’m sure. So, here’s a little lesson for those of you who might be worried about becoming an embarrassment to your fellow bleacher bums…which is really saying something:

1. Know your stats.  For instance…  


That is not a 6 WAR every season.  Even on Fangraphs, he wasn’t a 6 WAR every season in the last six…

It’s hard enough to look good trying to argue stats that change from site to site, but geez, at least get the ones you’re quoting right.

2. Don’t say you know what GMs think or do or trust.  I doubt even GMs tell other GMs what they use or trust.  If it were that damn easy, Andrew Friedman wouldn’t have ditched Tampa Bay and gotten a ton of money to do it in Los Angeles for a ton of money.

3. If you’re gonna mock a farm system, be careful how many rings they’ve just finished winning.  I mean, really.

As far as Zobrist goes…he’s a good player.  He’s awesome in fantasy baseball for his versatility, but he’s a good all-around player that doesn’t do one thing spectacularly well but plays good baseball.  But here’s the facts:

• He turns 34 in May.  That’s getting close to the end of his peak years, and his more recent years haven’t been as good as previous ones.

• He’s a free agent at the end of the year.  Now, the argument seemed to go something along the lines of “Either you sign him to an extension, or you get a draft pick.”  Signing 34-year olds to long contracts aren’t great roads to championships.  And yes, the Giants might get a draft pick.  But a sandwich round pick is not the same thing as a first round pick, and the talent drop-off after the first 20 picks is pretty significant.  The Giants have done well, but to wait another five years for that top prospect after having one good one in the majors, and another on the cusp?

• This might be the hardest concept for a fan of a team like Tampa Bay, or many others: The Giants are not in a win-now mode.  They’ve won.  They’ve won a lot.  If they fall into rebuilding anytime soon, just about anyone who’s not a Yankee fan would say that was a very successful run.  With guys like Posey, Bumgarner and Cain signed long-term, alongside players like Pence, Belt, and Panik still to be around for a while.  The Giants need an influx of young, cheap talent to continue to build around as they go for other free agents.  Guys like Susac and Crick.  And even if Susac is stuck behind Posey, his worth should be for someone who is around for much longer than one year.

The Giants are a team ready to reload for another run, especially with Sandoval gone, McGehee around for just a year, and many players with expiring contracts over the next two years.

Zobrist isn’t a bullet for a reload.  He’s a great piece for a team going for it one last time before another rebuild.

But…I never understood that in the 1990’s and 2000’s.  I guess it’s something you only learn from the experience of championships.