In praise of Ben Zobrist

by Bill Chuck on March 2, 2016

I was so glad to see the high degree of interest that was sent Ben Zobrist‘s way this offseason. Like Dustin Pedroia, Zobrist truly seems to be a “player’s player.” The kind of guy who does what it takes to win and do the most for his team, whenever and wherever asked.

The switch-hitting Zobrist developed his versatility while playing with Joe Maddon and the Rays and it was only natural that in his big free-agency opportunity he chose Joe Maddon and the Cubs signing  a four-year, $56 million contract in December.

As Tracy Ringolsby quoted Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon in an article on MLB.com:

“He is going to play second base, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put him [in another position],” said Maddon. “When he first got to the Rays, he was a shortstop, and we talked about him moving to the other side [of the infield]. He handled it. We put him in the outfield, no problem.

“Everything he does is technically correct. I’m not afraid to use him anywhere. You won’t see him at third or first unless it is absolutely necessary, but I am not afraid to put him there.”

Mike Tulumello of the AP quoted Maddon on Zobrist:

“He’s a high on-base percentage guy who runs the bases well,” Maddon said. “I promise you … his at-bat, whenever it arrives, whatever the team needs at that moment, that’s what he’s trying to do. More than likely, he’s not going to swing at bad pitches just to get on base. It’s not about him getting a hit. It’s about him getting on base.”

I’m not done.

Tony Andracki on CSNChicago.com quotes Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer:

“There have been signings this offseason that have been more celebrated, but in my mind, there’s no one more important as far as bringing in a guy that can be part of our culture, a switch-hitter, playing in the middle of the field and obviously the experience he was winning in Tampa and winning in Kansas City.”

Position-by-position, how Zobrist has hit throughout his career

Split G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
as 1B 13 35 6 9 1 0 2 4 1 10 6 .257 .422 .457 .879
as 2B 591 2066 314 531 123 14 57 247 48 291 365 .257 .349 .413 .762
as 3B 7 22 3 6 3 1 0 1 0 1 6 .273 .304 .500 .804
as SS 214 750 86 198 41 9 26 101 8 74 129 .264 .329 .447 .776
as LF 85 262 53 75 18 1 14 48 3 50 27 .286 .396 .523 .918
as CF 33 98 16 23 2 0 3 11 8 17 11 .235 .348 .347 .695
as RF 304 948 143 263 65 9 20 137 32 150 184 .277 .375 .428 .803
as DH 26 100 13 34 12 0 2 9 2 9 19 .340 .387 .520 .907
as PH 41 38 6 6 0 1 3 9 2 3 11 .158 .220 .447 .667
as PH for DH 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/2/2016.

Dayton Moore on Ben Zobrist

Andracki also spoke to Royals general manager Dayton Moore about Zobrist who was such a big part of the Royals 2015 championship season:

“I think Ben’s a perfect player for everybody,” Moore said. “I really do. I think he’s one of the best players I’ve ever been around — on the field, off the field.

“Great with the fans, great with the community, great teammate, great husband, great father. He’s a leader. He’s a winner.”

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