The Chicago Cubs are in a rough stretch currently, dropping two series to the Cincinnati Reds over the past week and now a series on the road to an Houston Astros team that is missing George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correra. There are certainly some issues with this team, particularly at second base with Daniel Descalso struggling as the team’s main utility guy.
Descalso has taken over that role for veteran Ben Zobrist who has missed the past three weeks or so after being put on the restricted list ion May 6. Zobrist is going through a divorce with his wife Julianna, something that has kept him away from the team.
The Cubs offense is still among the best in baseball but it’s clear they are missing Zobrist’s bat and ability to play multiple positions. Following Tuesday’s loss to the Astros, manager Joe Maddon talked about Zobrist and the situation at hand, hinting that the utility man may not return this season.
“I have to think that way, absolutely,” Maddon said Tuesday via the Chicago Sun-Times Gordon Wittenmyer. “I hope that’s not the case. But he’s at the point now where if he chose to come back, it’s going to take him awhile to get back up to speed, too. We have to mentally be prepared that we will not have him.”
Zobrist is hitting .241 this season but his versatility has really be valuable for the Cubs and Maddon. He’s in the final year of a four-year deal that brought him to Chicago in 2016. He was the World Series MVP in 2016, coming up with a huge RBI in extra innings of Game 7 vs. the Indians.
In 47 games this season, Descalso has had 146 plate appearances and his hitting .194 with an OBP of just .276. He’s been struggling playing the role of utility man and his defense isn’t something that really makes up for that.
With the news of Zobrist possibly not returning, the Cubs could decide to make a move for another veteran at the deadline or even call up Ian Happ from Triple-A to get reps at second base.