Results tagged ‘ Ben Zobrist ’

Seven Cubs named to the NL All-Star team

The Chicago Cubs today had seven players named to the National League All-Star team, the second-most in franchise history, trailing only the eight Cubs named in 2008.

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, second baseman Ben Zobrist, shortstop Addison Russell, third baseman Kris Bryant and outfielder Dexter Fowler were all voted by fans to start the 87th Major League All-Star Game Tuesday, July 12 at San Diego’s Petco Park. Right-handed pitcher Jake Arrieta was named to the All-Star team through the player vote, while left-handed pitcher Jon Lester was named to the club by manager Terry Collins.

The Cubs are just the second team in major-league history to field the starting infield, joining the 1963 St. Louis Cardinals (1B Bill White, 2B Julian Javier, SS Dick Groat, 3B Ken Boyer). The Cubs have never had five players named to start the All-Star Game and are the first team to do so since the 1985 San Diego Padres. Chicago’s five position players are its most since also having five in 1988 (Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Vance Law, Rafael Palmeiro and Ryne Sandberg).

Rizzo became the first Cub to lead the National League in fan voting since Derrek Lee in 2005. A three-time All-Star (2014, 2015 and 2016), Rizzo is the only first baseman in franchise history to be named to three-straight All-Star teams. He is only the fourth Cubs first baseman with three or more appearances, joining Ernie Banks (five All-Star Games as a first baseman), Mark Grace (three times) and Phil Cavarretta (three times). Rizzo is the first Cubs player to start at first base since Derrek Lee in 2005, as Rizzo was the starting designated hitter a year ago.

Zobrist has been named to his third-career All-Star team, joining his selections to the AL squad in 2009 and 2013. He is the first Cubs second baseman to be named to the squad since Ryne Sandberg started the game in 1993 and the fourth Cubs second baseman to be named to the club in the last 50 years, joining Sandberg, Manny Trillo and Glenn Beckert.

Russell has been named to his first All-Star team and is the first Cubs shortstop to start the game since Don Kessinger in 1972. At 22 years old, he is the youngest player in franchise history elected to start the game and second youngest All-Star overall, trailing only shortstop Starlin Castro who was named as a 21-year-old reserve in 2011. Russell is only the fourth Cubs shortstop named to the All-Star team in the last 50 seasons and the seventh overall.

Bryant earns his second All-Star honor in his second season, becoming the first Cubs third baseman to start the game since Aramis Ramirez in 2005. He is the first Cubs third baseman to earn All-Star honors in consecutive seasons since Ron Santo (1971-73) and the fifth Cubs third baseman to earn multiple All-Star honors, joining Aramis Ramirez (twice), Ron Santo (nine times), Randy Jackson (twice) and Stan Hack (four times).

Fowler has earned his first-career All-Star honor and is the first Cubs outfielder elected to start the game since Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome in 2008. Fowler is the first Cubs center fielder named to start the game since Frank Demaree in 1937. He is the first Cubs outfielder overall named to the game since Marlon Byrd in 2010.

On the pitching side, Arrieta earned his first-career All-Star honor and is the first Cubs right-handed starter to make the game since Jeff Samardzija in 2014. Lester has been named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career, first time as a Cub, as he previously earned American League honors in 2010, 2011 and 2014. He is the first Cubs left-handed starter to make the club since Travis Wood in 2013. The last Cubs lefty to pitch in the game was Randy Myers in 1995.

The Cubs have not had multiple pitchers make the game in the same season since four pitchers in 2008, when Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol and Ryan Dempster all pitched in the game (Kerry Wood did not appear).

Cubs and IF Ben Zobrist agree on a four-year contract

Zobrist(Photo by Else/Getty)

The Chicago Cubs and infielder Ben Zobrist have agreed to terms on a four-year contract through the 2019 campaign.

Zobrist, 34, has earned a pair of American League All-Star honors during his career spanning all or parts of 10 seasons with Tampa Bay (2006-14), Oakland (2015) and Kansas City (2015). This move reunites him with his former Tampa skipper Joe Maddon.

He is a career .265 hitter with a .355 on-base percentage and .431 slugging percentage, good for a .786 OPS. Zobrist has averaged 36 doubles, five triples, 17 homers, 77 RBI, 82 walks and 87 runs per 162 games of his major league career. Since the start of his first full big league season in 2009, he ranks fourth in the majors with 566 walks and is fifth with 247 doubles.

The switch-hitting Zobrist has surpassed 75 runs scored in each of the last seven seasons starting in 2009, reached double digits in home runs in each of the last eight years, and surpassed 30 doubles and a .350 on-base percentage in each of the last five campaigns starting in 2011.  Overall, he has 265 doubles, 35 triples, 127 home runs, 567 RBI, 641 runs scored and 105 stolen bases in 1,190 career big league games. He has batted .290 (390-for-1,344) with 33 homers and an .823 OPS vs. left-handers and .254 (755-for-2,973) with 94 homers and a .769 OPS vs. right-handers.

The versatile Zobrist has seen time at every position on the field except for pitcher and catcher, with significant playing time at second base (616 games), right field (336 games), shortstop (229 games) and left field (111 games) in addition to 34 games in center field, 17 games at first base and eight games at third base. Last year, he played more games at second base than any other position.

Zobrist batted .276 with 36 doubles, 13 homers, 56 RBI and 76 runs scored in 126 games in 2015 between Oakland and the World Champion Royals. He had more walks (62) than strikeouts (56) while turning in a .359 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging percentage, good for an .809 OPS, surpassing the .800 mark for the fifth season in his career. He helped the Royals to their first World Championship in 30 years by hitting .303 (20-for-66) with a .365 on-base percentage, .515 slugging and .880 OPS. It was Zobrist’s fifth postseason appearance in the last eight seasons.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Zobrist broke into the majors in 2006 and enjoyed his first full big league campaign in 2009 when he was named to the All-Star team en route to setting career highs with a .297 batting average, 27 homers and 91 RBI in 152 games. In 2011, he set a career high with 46 doubles and led all AL players with an 8.7 WAR. Two years later in 2013, Zobrist earned his second All-Star honor, matching his career-best from 2012 with 157 games and leading all AL second basemen with a .993 fielding percentage.

Zobrist is a native of Eureka, Illinois, located approximately 140 miles southwest of Chicago. He originally attended Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, and was selected by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of the 2004 draft out of Dallas Baptist University.

Chicago’s 40-man roster now stands at 39 players.