CHICAGO (WGN) — The wife of former Major League star Ben Zobrist said in court documents that her husband failed “to preserve marital assets” when he stepped away from the Chicago Cubs in May of 2019.
Julianna Zobrist is now seeking an additional $4 million in the couple’s divorce trial, claiming in a filing obtained by the Chicago Tribune that he “intentionally and voluntarily stopped working” and “essentially went from the top of his game to basically giving up, which caused a massive loss in income.”
Her attorney argues that, “In 2019, he had a contract with the Chicago Cubs for ($12 million), but since he only played for 2 months, his salary was prorated and he only earned ($4.5 million) of the ($12 million) he could have earned.”
Ben Zobrist’s attorney Helen S. Rogers called the claim “utterly absurd,” and argues that the former World Series MVP was too devastated to play baseball after finding out that his wife had been having an affair with the family pastor, Byron Yawn, and took a leave of absence from the team.
“Rather than accepting blame for having torn her husband’s heart out by having an affair with their pastor, she expected him to be able to totally focus in an elite athletic job that required (100%) of his physical and mental energy,” Rogers wrote in the memorandum. “It is Mrs. Zobrist, by having the extramarital affair and confessing same to her husband, and not disclosing the true extent of her affair, that caused him such extreme mental distress and difficulty that resulted in an inability to finish his long and very successful career in the way that he had hoped for and planned for.”
Ben Zobrist, who is suing Yawn for $6 million for allegedly defrauding his charity, claims that his wife “coaxed” him back to baseball so he could finish his contract with the Cubs.
Julianna and Ben Zobrist laid out a number of claims against each other in the court filing, with the former infielder alleging that his wife’s spending spiraled out of control while he financially propped up her career as a Christian pop singer, author and speaker.
The document claims that Julianna’s ventures led to a net loss of $212,000 in 2019, with $188,000 going to clothing. Rogers argues that she overspent from the couple’s estate by “at least $691,602.86,” including $30,000 on a party for Yawn in December of 2018, an event Ben Zobrist characterizes as the “genesis” of his split from Julianna.
Julianna Zobrist’s attorney, Marlene Eskind Moses, argued that her client’s husband suffers from “mental health issues” that Julianna Zobrist worked to alleviate so he could keep playing baseball.
Julianna Zobrist is asking for a 50-50 split of the marital assets, along with the $4 million from money she claims her husband should have made during the 2019 baseball season.
Ben Zobrist won two World Series championships during his 13-year baseball career, first with the Kansas City Royals in 2015 and then the next year with the Chicago Cubs.