Chicago Cubs utility man Ben Zobrist is nearing the of his contract and, after a rocky 2019, one has to wonder what’s in store for him when the year is done.
After personal issues have kept Ben Zobrist off of the field for the majority of the year, he has finally made a miraculous return. I, for one, couldn’t be happier to see the Chicago Cubs glue guy back in the dugout, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder what’s next.
Zobrist’s value to the Cubs has partly been something that can’t be measured. While he’s certainly been a valuable offensive player in his time with Chicago, it’s been his professionalism that’s made him truly important to the team.
Now, at 38 years old and nearing the end of his latest contract, it’s hard to say whether or not the Cubs still need him. Tony Kemp and Ian Happ, among others, fit the role of utility player. While Nicholas Castellanos (if they re-sign him) could provide professional at-bats and Jon Lester and Anthony Rizzo can act as leaders.
Perhaps, with all of the personal issues life has given Zobrist in 2019, he may choose to call it a career. If so, it will cap off a decorated tenure which included three All-Star nods, two World Series rings, and one World Series MVP with the 2016 team.
It would make sense, considering Zobrist had doubts about even returning this year, but he’s still a relatively productive player. Last year, he hit for a .305/.378/.440 slash line and, while he struggled to reach the same heights in his short time with the team this year, his on-base abilities are surely enough to make teams interested in his services.
In the end, it will likely come down to Zobrist’s family. He’s indicated time and again with his situation this year that family comes first. And especially if the Cubs decided not to re-sign him, that may push him to close the book on his playing career.
There’s still plenty of time for him to make that choice and, whatever he chooses, fans will no doubt continue to support him. Until that fated day, we can only sit and enjoy whatever time we have left watching the prototypical super-utility man play in the Friendly Confines.