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Cubs open to an expanded role for Ben Zobrist with the organization

1 year agoTony Andracki

Jed Hoyer is open to a “fresh perspective” in the Cubs front office next season.

A perspective that can only come from somebody who has won a World Series MVP, played in the big leagues for 14 years and reshaped what it means to be a utility player.

Ben Zobrist will forever be remembered as the player who got the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. The Illinois native who knew the full landscape of the organization’s 108-year championship drought and helped write a new narrative during his first year in Chicago.

Zobrist last played for the Cubs in 2019 and made his triumphant return to Wrigley Field earlier this season:

He’s also been around the team at various other points, including the Field of Dreams game in Iowa last month.

“I’ve talked to him a couple times this summer,” Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. “He’s done some work for the business side — some alumni-type stuff.”

And if Zobrist wants to expand his duties with the team beyond an ambassador role, Hoyer would be all for it.

“He’s wonderful,” the Cubs president of baseball operations said. “He’s got a real fresh perspective on baseball for a lot of reasons.”

Zobrist was a 6th-round pick and never appeared on top prospect lists as he climbed through the Astros and Rays farm systems. But he made a nice career for himself, appearing in over 1,600 MLB games, racking up 44.5 WAR, winning a pair of World Series and earning 3 All-Star nods.

And he did all that while playing at least 200 games at four different positions (second base, shortstop, right field, left field).

“His versatility gives him a really fresh perspective,” Hoyer said. “He was a little bit of an older prospect, a little more self-made than some guys. And then he was a switch-hitter. I don’t think the game came as easy to him as some. He really grinded; he prepared unbelievably well.

“So I think there’s a lot of value in having him around. We haven’t talked about a specific role but I’d love to have him in Spring Training and have him around the guys ’cause that is a perspective and a career and a work ethic that I think is unique.”

The team appreciates that perspective and has valued his presence this season.

“We love him around,” David Ross said. “I don’t know what his official title is. I know everybody likes having him around. He’s making decisions to be around more, I think — the little bit I know about it. I don’t get into too much of a job description when I’m around him. I talk about how he’s doing personally.”

Whether Zobrist takes on a special assistant role in Hoyer’s front office or something else is to be determined. But Cubs fans could be seeing more of Zobrist in the coming seasons.

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