The Chicago Cubs appear to have a deal in place with veteran infielder Ben Zobrist. According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the deal will land Zobrist in Chicago for four years.
Zobrist Deal Gives Him No-Trade Clause
A club confirmation is yet to be made regarding Zobrist. There could be an announcement regarding the deal later tonight. The rumored deal says the 34-year old will earn a total of $56 million with the new contract. At this time, the deal is currently pending the approval of a physical examination.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Zobrist receives full no-trade protection in the first three years of the deal. In the final year of the contact, Zobrist will see more limited trade protection. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports that Zobrist can block trades to eight clubs in the final year of the proposed deal.
Versatility Is The Name of Ben's Game
Ben Zobrist is considered a special player when on the field. He is extremely versatile around the diamond, putting all skills to the test each and everyday with the capability to play just about every position both in the infield and outfield. Zobrist's name is one that has been tossed around plenty thus far into the offseason.
Many teams are in need and therefore have showed "heavy" interest to see how their luck plays out for them with infielders currently being needed just about everywhere. In 2015, Zobrist spent the first half with the Oakland Athletics prior to being moved at the trade deadline to the Kansas City Royals. He hit .284/.384/.453 along with seven home runs and 23 RBIs, with 264 plate appearances in 59 games played. In the rumored deal with the Cubs, Zobrist is set to earn $10 million in 2016 followed by $16 million in both 2017 and 2018. The final year of the deal would see him earn $12 million in 2019. The deal also reportedly includes a $2 million signing bonus.
Cubs Not Originally Among Zobrist's Suitors
As per recent reports, it has been said that Zobrist would either be going to the San Francisco Giants or New York Mets who also put in four-year offers. Other teams included in talks were the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves. The Cubs seem to fit Zobrist's needs better though. As noted by MLBTradeRumors, his priorities were said to be a winning team and a team that is relatively close to his Nashville home. The Cubs check both of those boxes. The addition of Zobrist also makes sense in multiple ways for the city of Chicago as he would be under the coaching of his former manager Joe Maddon. Zobrist spent parts of nine seasons under Maddon while playing with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2006 to 2014.
Cubs Make Multiple Moves Monday
Given the subtraction of Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees earlier this evening, it opens up a playing spot for Zobrist. With the possibility of Javier Baez also being headed out in the near future, Ben could be moved to shortstop should the organization look to bring aboard another middle infielder. Multiple reports indicated this morning that Baez will be traded to the Atlanta Braves. In other moves from earlier in the day, the Cubs officially announced the signing of veteran right-hander Jon Lackey to a two-year, $32 million deal.