The Chicago Cubs have been without their super-utilityman Ben Zobrist for the majority of the season but the veteran switch-hitter is finally nearing a return.
The 38-year-old utility player has been sorely missed in a Cubs lineup that currently ranks last in making contact with the ball, so the stead Zobrist would be a welcome addition to the Chicago roster. Zobrist will head on a minor-league assignment starting next week with a return date expected to be around Sept. 1.
And while in 26 games Zobrist produced a rather poor slash line of .241/.343/.253, his walk rate and strikeout rate were on par with his career numbers. Plus, Zobrist’s ability to move around the diamond, despite some regression on defense as he’s gotten older, is still valuable to manager Joe Maddon.
Adding back Zobrist also allows the Cubs to avoid having to add another bench player to the roster and hopefully can provide a little stability at 2B where the Cubs have lacked any true production this season. There were reports of the Cubs pursuing Blue Jays 2B Eric Sogard, but with the news of Zobrist returning, it could allow President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein to focus on adding in other areas.
That being said, the Cubs do need some serious help on their bench. Daniel Descalso hasn’t started a game since June 30 and his hitting .181 in 73 games this season, Addison Russell was just optioned to Triple-A, and David Bote hasn’t produced the same type of numbers he showed in 2018. Zobrist, while a huge ingredient to the Cubs success, isn’t a guaranteed fix to all their bench issues and he’s still not going to be ready for another month.
But with the Cubs heading into their Friday series with the Brewers tied with the Cardinals for first place, they’ll take all the help they can get – especially when it comes in the form of a World Series MVP.