Longtime utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist may be in his last week with the Cubs, but these won’t necessarily be the final days of his major league career. Zobrist, a pending free agent who will turn 39 next May, believes he’s physically capable of continuing his career in 2020, per Tom Musick of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I feel like I can keep up,” Zobrist said.
However, that’s only one part of the equation, Musick notes, writing that “the mental grind, as well as outside interests and family commitments” all figure to play a role in whether Zobrist will keep going next season. The family aspect seems especially notable in Zobrist’s case, as he has spent most of this season on the restricted list while dealing with a divorce.
Zobrist got off to an uncharacteristically poor start this year before his off-field situation kept him away for most of May and all of June, July and August. Despite the Cubs’ September slide, though, they’ve gotten something resembling vintage Zobrist during his return this month. The switch-hitter has slashed .296/.377/.426 in 61 September plate appearances, which should make for an opportune bounce-back effort if he does take aim at another guaranteed contract over the winter.
As things stand, Zobrist’s on the cusp of wrapping up a four-year, $56MM free-agent payday that has largely worked in the Cubs’ favor. The former Ray, Athletic and Royal has given the Cubs a pair of highly productive campaigns, including a 2016 season in which he played an instrumental role in the franchise’s first World Series title since 1908. Still, it’s undetermined whether the Cubs will make an earnest attempt to bring back the aging Zobrist (or several of their other players) during what looks increasingly likely to be an offseason of notable changes.
Having slashed .263/.356/.321 with almost no power (.058 ISO, one home run) in 160 trips to the plate this year, Zobrist probably won’t be in line for anything better than a cheap one-year deal in his next trip to the market. But Zobrist still has a discerning eye that helps him reach base, evidenced by his almost identical K:BB ratio (21:20), he remains versatile enough to man the keystone and the corner outfield, and he’s a well-respected veteran. With those factors in mind, Zobrist should be able to find a job – whether in Chicago or elsewhere – in the coming months.
The Yankees have approximately 22 guys that are better already.
But can they play multiple positions?
Maybe he can return to Tampa Bay. He might not get a full time role with the Rays, but he can still play basically anywhere you put him, and they saw guys like Yandy Diaz, Lowe, and Wendel spend a lot of time on the IL this year. Plus you never know about Kiermaier’s health.If he’s willing to take a platoon/bench utility role on a cheap deal, why not?
So you are saying he has a Ray of hope….
I can see this happening
Look another Cubs post to bring out trolls of both teams. Yay!
Bring out your trolls! Bring out your trolls!
I’m not a troll, yet. But that witch did turn me into a newt.
He will have a job wherever Joe Maddon lands
So a Padre. That’s my prediction for both. Just a guess. I don’t buy into Bochy going there. I think he’s non commital about the San Diego opening is because he’s not interested and plans to retire.
What if maddon decides to retire sometime in the near future, like Ned Yost? He’s the same age as Yost after all.
There has to be more to the “divorce” being the reason he missed almost the entire season right? I don’t mean to insult him or anything like that but my guess is he must have had some serious depression or anxiety or something in relation to the divorce right? Because otherwise let’s be honest, a divorce doesn’t take an entire season to take care of. And nothing wrong with it, if he did – it would be totally understandable but I just find it a little strange that all the reports keep just saying “he missed time due to a divorce” like lots of players get divorced or what not during their careers and don’t miss an entire season — good for him for taking the time he needed to work through whatever it was he was dealing with. I’m just saying there has to be a little more to it than just “a divorce” in my opinion. Honestly I think it could be hugely beneficial if he ends up opening up about things in the future as far as destigmatizing mental illness/depression but obviously that’s also totally his own personal business and solely up to him but regardless I wish him the best.
You’re making wild and huge assumptions here. From rumors, it sounds like it wasn’t a pretty divorce.
Also, other rumors suggested that because his play was so poor, the Cubs asked him to take time away so they could save money to sign Kimbrel.
I think you are both right in away. I don’t think Jeff made any “huge” or “wild” accusations. Any real doctor would say that anxiety and/or depression are extremely normal feelings to have when going through a divorce. Especially when there are children in the family. Like you said after that though, rumors around the north side of Chicago are definitely suggesting that the divorce wasn’t pretty. Not to say they refuse to talk to each other or anything like that. From what I hear they are coparenting and at the very least being cordial with each other for the sake of their family. I don’t know if we will ever get all the details for the real reason for the divorce unless it comes out a couple years from now in a sports illustrated article or something. I know that Ben is a very religious person and seemed to be far more faithful and devoted to his wife relative to many other professional athletes. From what I have read/heard people seem to think that 1 or 2 things likely happened: Either his wife was discovered being unfaithful to him or she left him for another person. Either way it obviously came as a complete and devastating shock to him and his family. I’m sure depression and anxiety were a big part of it. There is also the financial fact to consider. He didn’t necessarily seem like the kind of guy to get a pre-nup because I think he genuinely believed he would be with his wife for the rest of his life. That means if she left him for another person with no evidence of infidelity then she is expected to get half the $ and majority custody of the kids. If she was discovered being disloyal and he is the person that filed for divorce she could contest the divorce and claim she is still entitled to half the $ and the majority of custody. Either way he had to be shocked and needed time to work out the legal situation. From what I hear about Ben, the thing he was likely most anxious about was family custody. To tell a man that he can’t live with his kids whenever he wants is a devastating thing. I think the Cubs might have been okay with his absence to free up salary for someone like Kimbrel but I highly doubt it was their idea.
Standupguy: “…she is still entitled to half the $ and the majority of custody. ”
Says who? Most states follow a simple formula for splitting the assets and debts. And why do you assume she would get the majority of the custody?
Typically when there is no prenuptial agreement and a divorce occurs the ex wife receives 50% of the total money the couple earned during the marriage. Also… Typically the father gets to live with his children every other weekend. That means that the mother lives with the children over 85% of the time and the father lives with the children less than 15% of the time. I know that is not a guarantee in every case and every divorce is different. I am just pointing out the fact that particular outcome is by far the most common outcome in non prenup divorces. I don’t know the specifics of the Zobrist situation and they may not even be finalizing a divorce. I was also just sympathising with Ben because it must be terrible to find out all at once that your wife cheated on you, you are losing tens of millions of dollars and the time you are allowed to spend with your children is reduced by 85%. I don’t know if that’s the case but that exact outcome is far more common than any other exact outcome in a situation like that. I have noticed that everything I have read suggests that she cheated on him. Most cases people would assume that the highly paid male professional athlete is the one cheating. The fact that no one is even suggesting that leads me to suspect that the rumors are at least somewhat true. I know the family knows everyone is suggesting that in the tabloids and online and they haven’t disputed it at all. Not to mention the fact that Zobrist is the most openly devoted person to his wife of any player in Major League baseball. He uses his wife’s song as his at bat music for gods sake. Can any other player say they do that? All I’m saying is that it must be terrible to go to sleep one night believing you are going to spend the rest of your life living with your wife and kids and wake up the neztbday to discover that the wife you have blessed with an extremely luxurious lifestyle cheated on you, is going to take 10’s of millions of dollars from you and reduce the time you get to spend around your own children by a very lard margin. There is no way his wife gave him primary custody so at the minimum it cuts the time he can spend with his children in half and likely even more than that.
@zpgreen—not sure about the nature of the divorce but upon his return he is wearing a wedding band and they continued to play his wife’s version of the song as his walk up music. Perhaps the time away was spent healing the family. Nothing has been said publicly (or I haven’t seen) so this probably continues to be a personal matter.
Probably because it wasn’t a divorce…yet. The article is misleading…based on legal filings I guess.
They are still married. He still uses her music as his walk up song. He still wears a ring.
He didn’t give up on his marriage, and he didn’t abandon his young children during this time to go gallavanting around the country playing baseball.
Most of us get to come home every day from work. Baseball players do not. Good for him for putting in the necessary time to try to mend the relationship instead of giving up. I do think you’re leaping to conclusions.
I hope they get it all worked out.
Let’s be honest a divorce with children and millions in assists takes quite a bit of time usually a year
Yea, something more than just a DIVORCE. Of course, he cud just b a sucker for love. Half of us go through a divorce & can’t afford to take a week off, much less 4 months. He only came back to salvage a month of salary.
Remember when Sandburg took a YEAR off to salvage his marriage?? Uh yea, ask him how that worked.Let little Ms. white haired princess go! She will never be faithful man. It happens. Move on. Just cuz he HOPES they stay married is no reason to believe it will. Wake up Benjamin!
I think Zobrist would be a good fit for any of the 3 most SouthEastern teams. He should either go somewhere with a young core of players that he can help mentor/teach or he should go somewhere he can actually play a noticeable role for a team that is already expected to be very competitive. Obviously Tampa is the first place that comes to mind. He has a lot of experience playing there and they are very likely to compete next season. The Marlins come to mind as well. Their players are so young and they would really benefit from learning from a professional like him. The next team I considered was the Braves. They have a very good very young core with guys like Swanson, Albies, and Acuna. They could all learn a lot from Zobrist’s approach. Not to mention that Hechevarria, Billy Hamilton and Matt Joyce could all be leaving in free agency in the off season. He could slide in as that proven infield/outfield backup. He would have the price of mind of knowing that he is almost guaranteed to be with a super competitive team there as well. I’m sure there are other teams as well but I don’t think he needs to go to a mediocre team that is built around older players on bad contracts. I don’t see how the Tigers, Orioles, Giants or Mets would make any sense. Then again he just went through a divorce and we have all seen players in that situation go where the most money is because they just lost half their bank account. If that becomes his driving factor he could just sign with whoever is willing to pay a penny more than everyone else. I could maybe see him maxing out at a Brian McCannish style 1 year $2 million deal. He is 39 years old and coming off a 1 home run season so that is probably generous. Whatever happens, I hope he goes where he can have a lasting impact on the development of young players years after he is gone.
I’m going to take a guess here based on how the cubs normally do things. Zobrist will resign with the cubs for 3yrs-$65 mil. That cubs money ain’t going to spend itself
If Zobrist is a cub next year look for his contract to be a 1 year 6 mil range with a mutual option for another year at the same rate. Personally I can see the cubs taking the Bryant approach to having Nico Horner starting the season in AAA and them bringing him up by May 1st and Horner will be the everyday 2 nd base guy for a few years to come. Maddon is gone and he needs to be. Maddon guided them to the end of there drought and will be respected for that forever in Chicago but his mix and match plug and play attitude doesnt let players get into a good playing routine and he is slipping with his bullpen management into the toilet. Look for the Cubs to sign Joe Girardi as there new manager. Theo Epstein will be on a shorter leash also. The cubs will lose morrow (like he hasnt been lost for 1.5 years and 18 million dollars) Descalso (shoulnt have been there anyway) Chatwood, Hamels. Lucroy and the biggest loss Castelanos (unless they play Heyward in center fultime) just to name a few. This epic meltdown this year is worse than last year.
OMG Please NOT Girardi. Dave Ross Dave Ross Dave Ross!
Yea JG is not gonna work. He is hotheaded & is gonna want about 5M as he won a WS. That is not the trend today to pay that type of jack. Joe needs to go, but JG is not the answer. He is the totally ANTI Joe…rigid, analytical, fiery & unapproachable. They need someone in between. Maybe a person we haven’t even heard of yet.
“evidenced by his almost identical K:BB ratio (21:20)”
This ratio is nearly identical to what exactly?
Thx. I was wondering the same thing! LoL
Thought it was suppose to be 2-1 ratio—-at least.
Cubs player /bench coach 2020
lol, good luck w/that.
How can he be bench coach and still play? Bench coach is supposed to be by the manager