Cubs: Theo Epstein’s Greatest Moves: No. 5 – Signing Ben Zobrist
Coming off a World Series title with the Kansas City Royals, switch-hitting utilityman Ben Zobrist was a hot commodity heading into the 2015-16 offseason. Epstein swooped in and locked him up on a four-year, $56 million deal. This, of course, proved critical in the years to come.
During the team’s World Series campaign, Zobrist earned the third All-Star nod of his career, slashing .272/.386/.446 after being reunited with Maddon, his former manager in Tampa Bay. His versatility was critical to keeping key guys fresh, not only in 2016, but during his four years on the North Side.
His biggest moment came in Game 7 of the Fall Classic, when he punched a go-ahead RBI double down the third-base line in the tenth inning, which put the Cubs ahead for good. No one will ever forget him jumping into the air upon reaching second base as his teammates went wild in the dugout.
Zobrist’s contributions in the World Series went far beyond that knock, evidenced by his .919 OPS over the seven games. He earned World Series MVP honors – and although his Cubs career ended in a rather unceremonious fashion, he was a critical piece to the team’s run in the back half of the decade.