Cubs and IF Ben Zobrist agree on a four-year contract

Zobrist(Photo by Else/Getty)

The Chicago Cubs and infielder Ben Zobrist have agreed to terms on a four-year contract through the 2019 campaign.

Zobrist, 34, has earned a pair of American League All-Star honors during his career spanning all or parts of 10 seasons with Tampa Bay (2006-14), Oakland (2015) and Kansas City (2015). This move reunites him with his former Tampa skipper Joe Maddon.

He is a career .265 hitter with a .355 on-base percentage and .431 slugging percentage, good for a .786 OPS. Zobrist has averaged 36 doubles, five triples, 17 homers, 77 RBI, 82 walks and 87 runs per 162 games of his major league career. Since the start of his first full big league season in 2009, he ranks fourth in the majors with 566 walks and is fifth with 247 doubles.

The switch-hitting Zobrist has surpassed 75 runs scored in each of the last seven seasons starting in 2009, reached double digits in home runs in each of the last eight years, and surpassed 30 doubles and a .350 on-base percentage in each of the last five campaigns starting in 2011.  Overall, he has 265 doubles, 35 triples, 127 home runs, 567 RBI, 641 runs scored and 105 stolen bases in 1,190 career big league games. He has batted .290 (390-for-1,344) with 33 homers and an .823 OPS vs. left-handers and .254 (755-for-2,973) with 94 homers and a .769 OPS vs. right-handers.

The versatile Zobrist has seen time at every position on the field except for pitcher and catcher, with significant playing time at second base (616 games), right field (336 games), shortstop (229 games) and left field (111 games) in addition to 34 games in center field, 17 games at first base and eight games at third base. Last year, he played more games at second base than any other position.

Zobrist batted .276 with 36 doubles, 13 homers, 56 RBI and 76 runs scored in 126 games in 2015 between Oakland and the World Champion Royals. He had more walks (62) than strikeouts (56) while turning in a .359 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage, good for an .809 OPS, surpassing the .800 mark for the fifth season in his career. He helped the Royals to their first World Championship in 30 years by hitting .303 (20-for-66) with a .365 on-base percentage, .515 slugging and .880 OPS. It was Zobrist’s fifth postseason appearance in the last eight seasons.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Zobrist broke into the majors in 2006 and enjoyed his first full big league campaign in 2009 when he was named to the All-Star team en route to setting career highs with a .297 batting average, 27 homers and 91 RBI in 152 games. In 2011, he set a career high with 46 doubles and led all AL players with an 8.7 WAR. Two years later in 2013, Zobrist earned his second All-Star honor, matching his career-best from 2012 with 157 games and leading all AL second basemen with a .993 fielding percentage.

Zobrist is a native of Eureka, Illinois, located approximately 140 miles southwest of Chicago. He originally attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, and was selected by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of the 2004 draft out of Dallas Baptist University.

Chicago’s 40-man roster now stands at 39 players.

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