Chicago Cubs: Zo knows how to win
Although fans are bracing for the possibility that some of their favorite players may no longer be part of the team, I’d like to offer an idea that might be a little nostalgic and contrary to the idea of that “winner’s trap” we discussed earlier. With the great probability that the Cubs won’t be huge spenders and blow past all thresholds of the Collective Bargaining Tax, my idea is one that won’t cost a lot, could help some key areas of need, and will keep some former Cubs everyone thought had played their last games in Chicago. Three gentlemen, in fact.
First up – a guy who is certainly experiencing panta rhei in his life. A World Series MVP, a great contact hitter with a superb eye, and a leader in the clubhouse. No one quite knows if Ben Zobrist wants to return to baseball in 2020, but if he does, the Cubs should do what they can to make sure he stays in Chicago. And while Joe Maddon may no longer be running things, new skipper David Ross would no doubt be happy to use Maddon’s favorite swiss-army knife in a similar role that allows Zobrist to play 80 to 100 games, but be around as another coach-like persona in the clubhouse.
Zobrist would continue to give the Cubs what they need the most – guys who can work at bats, put the ball in play, and not strikeout. His presence and approach could continue to rub off on guys like Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, and Willson Contreras – all guys who are immensely talented but still strikeout too much.
Though no one knows if Zobrist is hanging up his spikes to spend more time with his family in the wake of his marital issues from a season ago or looking to keep on keepin’ on, the Cubs or Angels have to be the frontrunners for his services.
He also wouldn’t be getting a huge contract, as MLBTR lists him as an “honorable mention” candidate for free agency this offseason. My guess, coupled with the numbers up for estimated salaries puts Zobrist’s price tag under five or $6 million for one more year, an extremely palatable price for the Cubs.