UPDATE: 12/9/15

The Chicago Cubs introduced Ben Zobrist today and the new second baseman confirmed what was being reported when the initial signing was made on Tuesday. The New York Mets thought they had him and a Washington Post report says the Nationals and Giants both offered him more money.

Zobrist received a four-year deal worth $56 million and a no-trade clause in the first three years, including a limited no-trade in his final year. In his press conference, Zobrist said he picked the Cubs because of the proximity to home.

The Nationals and Giants reportedly offered Zobrist $60 million over four years, so not a lot more but still that’s $4 million he left on the table to come to Chicago.


According to Ken Rosenthal, the Chicago Cubs will sign Ben Zobrist.

Zobrist, 34, is one of the most versatile players in baseball and is reunited with Joe Maddon, who was also his manager with the Tampa Bay Rays when he made his MLB debut back in 2006. The super-utility man has played for three teams during his 10-year career.

Most recently, Zobrist was with the Oakland A’s at the start of the 2015 season. The Cubs were reportedly interested in trading for him back in July, but it was the Kansas City Royals who ultimately traded for him before the deadline. He hit .276 with the Royals and A’s combined, 12 home runs, 56 RBIs and also a .359 OBP.

While his defensive versatility gives Zobrist a lot of his value, his bat is over looked. As Bleacher Nation’s Bleacher Report noted, Zobrist is ranked 19th in wRC+ from 2011-15. The calculation is complicated, but the league average is 100. Zobrist had a rating of 124, ranked ahead of some very good players known for their offense.

At one point, Zobrist had one of the best WARs in MLB. Check out some of these totals.

2009: 8.6 WAR

2010: 3.6 WAR

2011: 6.3 WAR

2012: 5.8 WAR

2013: 5.0 WAR

2014: 5.5 WAR

Zobrist is a two-time All-Star (2009, 2013) and was a key contributor to the 2015 World Series winning Royals. In the playoffs for Kansas City, Zobrist had a slash line of .303/.365/.515 with a .880 OPS.

He’ll be a great veteran presence on a young team, and hopefully his approach rubs off on some hitters too. His OBP has been above .350 since 2011. He also had a .405 OBP in 2009. Zobrist only had 56 strikeouts compared to 62 walks in 467 at bats for Oakland and Kansas City combined during the 2015 season.

With Javier Baez still on the team, Maddon is in heaven having not just one but two players who can play multiple positions on defense.

Starlin Castro has been traded to the New York Yankees, so Zobrist will get a lot of playing time at second base.  Also, despite earlier reports of Zobrist having $80 million on the table, that ended up being wrong and came in at a much cheaper cost at $14 million per year. As we shared earlier, the Cubs are pursuing Jason Heyward and this signing shouldn’t change that. The money from Castro’s deal and Zobrist’s new contract aren’t that far off, so the front office is still left in the same position in terms of resources to go after Heyward.

Not only did the Cubs sign Zobrist, but they also basically stole him from the New York Mets. Until today, there were rumors of a mystery team popping up in Zobrist talks and it appears that it ended up being the Cubs, who swooped in and signed him away from the Mets who felt very confident they would end up him instead.