Ben Zobrist Agrees to 4-Year Contract with Chicago Cubs

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist

Kansas City Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist fields the ball on a single by New York Mets' Curtis Granderson during the first inning of Game 3 of the Major League Baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Free agent Ben Zobrist has agreed to terms on a four-year contract with the Chicago Cubs worth $56 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. 

The Cubs later confirmed the deal would run through the 2019 season. 

The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves were all also interested in Zobrist, per Rosenthal

But the Cubs were always the top choice for Zobrist, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago. 

Zobrist, 34, hit .276/.359/.450 with 13 home runs and 56 RBI while splitting last season with the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics. While those numbers were solid, his overall contributions were his worst since 2008. His 2.1 wins above replacement were a 3.4-win drop from 2014 and mostly attributable to a surprising defensive regression, per FanGraphs.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports broke down why Zobrist will be a good fit for the Cubs: 

After posting positive defensive metrics each of the previous six seasons—and at times being considered among the most versatile talents in the sport—Zobrist struggled in an inconsistent role. He spent most of 2015 bouncing back and forth between the outfield and second base, also spending four games at third. 

It's worth noting this was his first season not playing 81 games on the Tampa Bay turf, but most teams likely view his downturn as an outlier. Zobrist also helped increase his value with a strong postseason, hitting .303/.365/.515 with two home runs and six runs batted in as the Royals earned their first World Series in three decades. 

Signing a 34-year-old without much power or speed who is coming off his worst season in more than a half-decade may seem like a risk for the Cubs, but given Zobrist's track record, it's probably one worth taking.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.

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