Cubs, Zobrist agree on four-year, $56 million deal
The Chicago Cubs keep adding players who used to be on Joe Maddon’s teams.
Free agent infielder Ben Zobrist agreed Tuesday to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Cubs, a deal that spurred Chicago to trade Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren.
A two-time All-Star, Zobrist gets a $2 million signing bonus, payable by Jan. 31, and salaries of $10 million next year, $16 million in each of the following two seasons and $12 million in 2019.
The 34-year-old switch-hitter plays second, third and the outfield, and he was an important spark for the Kansas City Royals in their run to the World Series title.
"He’s all about winning. That’s what he’s about," Maddon said earlier Tuesday.
Zobrist played his first nine seasons with Tampa Bay when Maddon ran the team. Maddon praised Zobrist’s versatility as a utility player.
"I thought there should have been a Super U player on the All-Star team," he said. "It’s an absolute position, just like second base or left field is. A real legitimate SU guy is a position, and it permits you to do so many different things with your lineup daily and so many different things to get progress daily."
Zobrist is a career .265 hitter with a .355 on-base percentage and .431 slugging percentage, and he hit .276 this year with 36 doubles, 13 homers and 56 RBIs for Oakland and Kansas City, which acquired him on July 28.
The New York Mets also had tried to reach an agreement.
"I don’t think this was about money," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. "It was about him finding a place that fit. I think he liked a lot about what we were. He has some history with the manager in Chicago. It’s a little closer to home for him. He made that decision, and we’ll move on."
Chicago also finalized its $32 million, two-year contract with pitcher John Lackey, who won Game 7 of the World Series for the Angels in 2002 when Maddon was the bench coach.
"He actually helped pay for my daughter’s wedding," Maddon said, a reference to his postseason share. "I was really grateful for many years for that."