Reunited and it feels so good.
Cubs free-agent acquisition and do-everything man Ben Zobrist has to feel like he’s coming home. Not only because he’s returning to his home state of Illinois, but because he’s being reunited with manager Joe Maddon.
According to CSN Chicago’s Christopher Kamka, no one has played more games under Maddon than Zobrist.
Zobrist, 34, made his big-league debut with the Rays in 2006, the same year Maddon managed his first season in Tampa. They spent nine seasons together before both departing Tampa Bay following the 2014 season.
Maddon is credited with helping turn Zobrist – once tagged as a “low upside” prospect – into a star as he played Zobrist at every defensive position other than pitcher and catcher.
Zobrist, who signed a four-year, $56 million deal, reportedly decided between the Cubs and the Mets. Ultimately, Mets assistant GM John Ricco said he thinks it was Zobrist’s relationship with Maddon that made him choose Chicago.
“I don’t think this was about money,” Ricco said, via Fox Sports. “It was about him finding a place that fit. I think he liked a lot about what we were, and as you mentioned, he has some history with the manager in Chicago, it’s a little closer to home for him, so he made that decision. We’ll move on.”
Zobrist, a two-time World Series veteran, will primarily play second base for the Cubs, according to President of Baseball Ops Theo Epstein.
12 things to know about Ben Zobrist
Stats via Baseball-Reference.