Longtime utilityman extraordinaire Ben Zobrist hasn’t decided whether he’ll continue his career in 2020, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic tweets. For now, though, Zobrist is working out in case he elects to sign a free-agent contract with a club.
The 38-year-old Zobrist has been among the majors’ most productive players over the past decade, but he’s now on the open market at what looks like an inopportune time. Zobrist was barely a factor for this year’s Cubs, as he missed a large portion of the season while dealing with a divorce. When he actually did take the field, the switch-hitting Zobrist batted a powerless .260/358/.313 with one home run over 176 plate appearances. But Zobrist’s typically high on-base percentage remained strong, and he collected almost as many walks (23) as strikeouts (24).
Thanks to Zobrist’s excellent track record and the positives he showed amid a rough 2019, there’s little doubt he’ll draw a decent amount of interest in free agency if he wishes to continue playing. That said, Zobrist has the disadvantage of being one of many flawed but capable free-agent second base types. Teams that don’t want to break the bank at the position could choose from Zobrist, Starlin Castro, Brian Dozier, Brock Holt, Howie Kendrick, Jason Kipnis and Jonathan Schoop, among others. Of course, unlike the majority of second basemen on this year’s market, Zobrist can play a respectable corner outfield. That should help Zobrist’s cause if he decides to continue his career next season.