REPORT: Chicago Cubs sign switch-hitter Ben Zobrist to a four-year, $56 million deal


The Chicago Cubs have made a big splash at the Winter Meetings.

According to FOX Sports reported Ken Rosenthal, free agent utility man and switch-hitter Ben Zobrist has agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract with the Cubs, including a no-trade clause.

Zobrist, 34, hit .276 with 13 home runs and 54 RBI’s in 2015 in 126 games with the Oakland Athletics and world champion Kansas City Royals in 2015. He is a career .265 hitter.

The move reunited Zobrist with Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who was his manager with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006-2014. Zobrist played all over the diamond with the Maddon and the Rays but is expected to play second base in Chicago.

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Playing second base was a key part of Zobrist’s negotiations. Subsequently, Starlin Castro will be traded to the New York Yankees for swingman Adam Warren and infielder Brendan Ryan.

During the 2015 postseason, the Cubs struggled to score runs without hitting the long ball. Zobrist has some pop in his bat (his career high in home runs in 20) but is more of a contact hitter. Essentially, he is very skillful at driving in runs without hitting the ball out of the park.

Other known suitors for Zobrist include the San Francisco Giants, the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets. The Cubs and Mets were the final two teams in on Zobrist before his decision to go to the North Side.

However, his preference was to play for a team near his home in Nashville, Tennessee.

With the addition of Zobrist, the Cubs now have another playoff experienced/battle tested veteran. During his career, he has made the playoffs on five separate occasions (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015). He has played in two World Series’, losing in 2008 with the Rays and winning in 2015 with the Royals.

The addition of Zobrist comes on the day the team officially announced John Lackey‘s signing. However, the team is not done yet, as they still are looking to acquire a young starting pitcher and possibly a replacement for Dexter Fowler.

All in all, signing Zobrist came at the cost of dealing Castro, but his veteran leadership and playoff experience will prove to be vital for a young Cubs team. His ability to play all around the diamond and switch-hit will be welcomed additions to the team in 2016.