Cubs agree deal with Zobrist, trade Castro to Yankees

Wed Dec 9, 2015 2:14pm EST
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(Reuters) - The Chicago Cubs welcomed free agent Ben Zobrist and bid goodbye to Starlin Castro, while the Arizona Diamondbacks further bolstered their rotation with a deal for Shelby Miller announced on Wednesday.

The Diamondbacks, who last week stunned Major League Baseball by signing free agent starter Zack Greinke to a six-year, $206.5 million deal, added another All-Star to their rotation with the acquisition of 25-year-old Miller.

Arizona sent a trio of talented young players in outfielder Ender Inciarte and minor leaguers Aaron Blair and Dansby Swanson to Atlanta for Miller and minor leaguer Gabe Speier.

The Cubs landed coveted free agent Zobrist, who helped the Kansas City Royals win the World Series last year, with a four-year, $56 million contract.

Chicago made room for the versatile Zobrist at second base by acquiring pitcher Adam Warren and a player to be named from the Yankees for 25-year-old Castro, a three-time All-Star.

"We couldn't have made this free-agent signing without this trade, and would not have made the trade without the free-agent signing," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters at the winter meetings in Nashville.

"Ben's a winning baseball player," Epstein said. "If you look at his overall contribution on the field -- his offense, his defense, his baserunning -- he's been one of the most valuable players in the game."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon will be reunited with one of his favorite players in the 34-year-old Zobrist, who played for Maddon with Tampa Bay from 2006-14.

Zobrist, who split last season between the Oakland A's and Royals, batted .276 with 13 home runs while playing second base, third base, left field and right field.   Continued...

Oct 31, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run against the New York Mets in the sixth inning in game four of the World Series at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports