Chicago Cubs: If this is it, it’s been a heck of a ride for Ben Zobrist

(Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by David J. Phillip-Pool/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Ben Zobrist is likely in his final days with the Chicago Cubs. If this is indeed the end of his time with the North Siders, it’s been an unforgettable journey.

When the Chicago Cubs signed Ben Zobrist to a four-year deal prior to the 2016 season, I knew he was the type of player that would put the Cubs over the top. This was a young team loaded with talent that would benefit from a veteran presence like his. Though Zobrist has never been a superstar, he’d always been a solid player who played hard and showed a lot of passion for the game.

Indeed, Zobrist made a big impact right away during the 2016 World Series championship season, often batting cleanup in the middle of a loaded batting order and playing solid if not spectacular defense at several positions. He made the National League All-Star team and capped it all off by earning the World Series MVP award. As a newcomer, he cemented his legacy as a Cubs legend during that magical year.

That’s why it seems unfortunate that this is how it might end. Zobrist has had a difficult 2019, mainly due to off-the-field issues, and as he’s about to become a free agent at age 38, it’s unclear whether he will even return to baseball next season. If he does, there’s a good chance it won’t be with the Cubs.

There are currently a few different players in the second base mix for next year, including Addison Russell, Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner.  The team could face a crowded corner outfield mix, as well, particularly if Nicholas Castellanos returns via free agency. It remains to be seen whether there’d be room for Zobrist on the roster.