Chicago Cubs: What is Ben Zobrist’s role moving forward?
Changing of the guard
Zobrist signed with the Chicago Cubs in early December of 2015 for four years and $56 million. This also included a full no-trade clause for the first three years of the deal. This doesn’t mean Zobrist can’t be traded, but it does mean he can block a proposed trade to any team in the league.
Throughout his career, Zobrist’s defensive versatility has proven to be invaluable to the teams he’s played for. Though he’s played the majority of his time at second base, he’s also logged 3,833 2/3 innings in the outfield and 1,777 innings at shortstop.
The Chicago Cubs have now reached a point where Zobrist will need to further embrace that defensive flexibility if he wishes to continue playing a large role on the team.
The future of the second base position in Chicago looks increasingly like it belongs to Javier Baez. Ben Zobrist started 113 games at second base in 2016, compared to just 65 games in 2017. Meanwhile, Baez started 38 games at second base in 2016 and 56 games in 2017. If those trends continue in 2018, and it’s likely they will, Baez will start more games at second base than Zobrist.