The Ben Zobrist sweepstakes have ended. The big winner is a team no one saw coming when Zobrist first hit the market. The veteran super-utility man has agreed to sign a four-year, $56MM deal with the upstart Chicago Cubs as reported by Ken Rosenthal. He will have a no-trade clause in his contract for the first three years of his deal.
Zobrist began last season as a member of the Oakland Athletics but was dealt mid-season to the Kansas City Royals to beef up their roster in an effort to bolster their chances for the World Series. He ended seeing most of his playing time at second base and was a key contributor in helping the Royals win their first World Series Championship in 30 years. Zobrist batted .276/.359/.450 on the year. He brings a ton of versatility and leadership to a young but promising Cubs. Zobrist is expected to become the everyday second baseman which means the Cubs will have to trade either Javier Baez or Starlin Castro to clear room for Zobrist to get everyday at-bats.
Zobrist had narrowed down his choices to three teams: the Cubs, New York Mets and Washington Nationals. Zobrist had been reportedly keen on signing with a team that would have a wide window for contention. He is reuniting with his former manager Joe Maddon whom he was with while he was with the Tampa Bay Rays. He is the first impact position player to sign this offseason.