Chicago Cubs: Ranking the greatest players of the decade – #20-11

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Chicago Cubs: No. 13: Ben Zobrist

Ben Zobrist is the kind of player that it seems like the Chicago Cubs lacked before they started winning a few years ago: a solid veteran who can do a lot of things while providing enthusiasm and a positive influence in the dugout. His signing with the Cubs prior to the 2016 season added yet another piece to the puzzle as the team was building their championship squad in 2016.

Zobrist was a favorite of manager Joe Maddon during their long time together with the Tampa Bay Rays, and we got to see why in 2016. Zobrist made the All-Star team in 2016, putting up a nice .831 OPS while driving in 74 runs, scoring 94 runs, and playing several defensive positions. His biggest accomplishment was winning World Series MVP that year, as his performance included the go-ahead hit in the tenth inning of Game 7.

Zobrist wasn’t as good in 2017, but he had a nice bounceback year in 2018, batting a career-high .305 while driving in 58 runs. I’ve always enjoyed watching Zobrist play because he shows a lot of enthusiasm, cheering on his teammates, while not getting easily flustered on the field. I think his veteran leadership has been underrated.

Zobrist had a rough 2019, missing the majority of the season due to off-the-field issues. Many are speculating that he will retire, as he is a free agent, though when he returned late in the year he still showed he had something left, batting .284. One big Cubs storyline this offseason is regarding what Zobrist will do.