The Cubs have been without utilityman Ben Zobrist since May 8 because of a personal matter. Three weeks later, they remain unsure whether Zobrist will return this season, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Teammates and manager Joe Maddon are among those lamenting the respected Zobrist’s absence, as detailed in Wittenmyer’s piece. Asked if Zobrist won’t come back in 2019, Maddon admitted, “I have to think that way, absolutely,” adding the Cubs must “mentally be prepared” that his season is over. Even if Zobrist does return, Maddon noted that “it’s going to take him a while to get back up to speed.”
Zobrist is in the last season of his contract with the Cubs, who signed him to a four-year, $56MM pact entering the 2016 campaign. He’s on a $12MM salary this year, but it’s unclear if Zobrist is collecting that money while he’s on the restricted list. This season’s issues notwithstanding, the contract has worked out swimmingly for the Cubs.
The switch-hitting, multi-positional Zobrist was one of the Cubs’ most valuable players from 2016-18, including when he helped the team to its first World Series title since 1908 in the initial season of the deal. The 38-year-old got off to a rough start on the field this season before going on leave, however, and now it’s unknown whether he’ll suit up for the Cubs again.