According to multiple reports, the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a four-year deal with super-utility man Ben Zobrist. Although the terms are not out yet, I’d expect it to be upwards of $60 million or so.
We’ve been discussing this deal all evening in relation to the attendant rumored trade of Starlin Castro, so you can see much more on Zobrist here. Although he’s now 34, Zobrist can still play all over and brings a well-above-average bat from both sides of the plate.
Zobrist is not tied to draft pick compensation, by the way.
Much more on this soon.
UPDATE: Reports have the deal at four years and $56 million. Given Zobrist’s value, a $14 million AAV is a fantastic deal, even at his age. We’ll now see how that impacts the rest of the offseason for the Cubs financially, but I suspect that, if they wind up moving Starlin Castro, they’ll still be able to be aggressive in the outfield.
UPDATE 3: Porting over some thoughts from the other post on Zobrist and the possible next step, which could be trading Starlin Castro:
By signing Zobrist first, much like they signed John Lackey first, the Cubs would be in a great position to be able to sit back and be covered if they can’t get another great bat with their outfield maneuvering (and then, for example, could go for a defense-first player in center field if they weren’t able to land Jason Heyward). Further, by moving Castro and his contract, the flexibility only increases. I’m still on the fence about moving Castro in general – I think he can be very good next year and beyond at second base – but I see the thinking here ….
Random note on Zobrist, since I see some discontent about him as a target. Remember, it’s not ALL about the defensive versatility – this is a guy who’s posted the 19th best wRC+ in the AL since 2011 … ahead of Longoria, Pujols, A-Rod, Brantley, and I could go on.
UPDATE 4: The reported breakdown on the Zobrist deal further suggests that the Cubs could still have enough financial flexibility in 2016 to go after a big name in the outfield:
Zobrist breakdown: $2M signing bonus, $10M in 16, $16M in 17, $16M in 18, $12M in 19. #Cubs
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) December 9, 2015
UPDATE 5: The Cubs have announced the deal, and it’s official.