The Cubs will miss Ben Zobrist
|Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 1:01 PM- -|
While the beginning of the 2020 MLB season has been delayed, a lot of unknowns hang over the head of the baseball world. One of the things that seem inevitable for the 2020 Cubs is that Ben Zobrist will not be on the team.
His retirement is still yet to be set in stone, but it seems apparent that the 38-year-old has no plans to resume his playing career this season — whenever it is that the season does begin if it ever does.
Zobrist visited Cubs camp before the virus shut down spring training and sent the baseball world and the world in general into a state of panic, and he met with reporters to discuss his potential future in the MLB.
Zobrist's 2019 season was an odd one. He got off to a slow start and then took a leave of absence while dealing with various family issues concerning his divorce with his wife, Juliana. His time off allowed the Cubs to afford the contract they gave Craig Kimbrel. Toward the stretch of the season, Zobrist returned and provided a high contact approach and extraordinary leadership during the Cubs attempt to enter the postseason.
The utility man ended up hitting .260 with a .358 on-base percentage. He finished the season on the mound against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out Cardinals legend Yadier Molina to end the Cubs' season.
That also may have ended Zobrist's career.
While Zobrist hasn't declared officially that he is retiring, he mentioned that he has no plans to play in 2020 as he is enjoying spending time with family. Reporter Jon Heyman said of Zobrist that he "started versatility trend and was rewarded for it, won 2 rings".
Of course, Cubs fans remember that second ring. Zobrist delivered a go-ahead RBI double in the 10th inning of game seven, the biggest hit of the Cubs' long-tenured history. Zorilla was rewarded with a World Series MVP.
If that is indeed it for Zobrist, he finishes his career with two World Series rings, that World Series MVP I just mentioned as well as three trips to the midsummers' classic as an all-star — a terrific career for a utility man.
The 2020 Cubs will miss Zobrist for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, while the MLB is making a universal push offensively toward power and launch angle — there is a simultaneous appreciation for the type of approach Zobrist brings to the table daily.
Zobrist has been known to deliver a professional at-bat from both sides of the plate, as he sees a lot of pitches and has high contact skills — which is something the 2019 Cubs lacked, and the 2020 Cubs will be looking for.
On top of that, Zobrist's leadership will be greatly missed. He was one of the most widely respected n the clubhouse, and his presence will be indeed yearned for with the Cubs this year.
Bruce Levine was the first to report that despite Zobrist admitting he was enjoying raising his kids and spending time with his family, he would still like to keep the door open with the Cubs down the road.
While that is vague, it is unknown if Zobrist means to play for the Cubs, to coach for them or to serve some type of role in the front office — but what is essential is that Zobrist can maintain in connection with the organization that he helped to save with his heroics in the 2016 World Series.
Zobrist had an immense contribution to what was the most significant moment in the organization's history, including the most important hit. For that, all of the Cubs faithful will be forever thankful.
For all Zobrist is, he will certainly be missed in 2020 as well.