The Chicago Cubs are missing Ben Zobrist more than we thought

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

When the Chicago Cubs Ben Zobrist needed to take a personal leave, the team was clicking. Now, his presence is starting to be missed.

It’s been known for a while that the Chicago Cubs need help in their bullpen due to Pedro Strop and Brandon Morrow‘s absence. But what about the professional at-bats from Ben Zobrist?

Offensively, the Cubs have had no problems all season. Willson Contreras is arguably the best catcher in all of baseball as he enters Tuesday with a 1.9 fWAR, second to only J.T. Realmuto. Anthony Rizzo is playing better than any position player right now, Javier Baez has a better slash line than he did last season and the rest are doing enough to help the Cubs score runs.

But over the last week, the lack of production at second base has shown. Daniel Descalso‘s slash line in May is .100/.164/.140.

Yikes. Folks, that is not good. That is actually very bad.

David Bote is batting .250 but is striking out at a 31.1 percent clip. His .328 slugging percentage isn’t pretty either.

Since Addison Russell returned from his suspension, he’s been inconsistent in 49 plate appearances. However, he is 6-for-10 in his last three games with two home runs. It still doesn’t change the facts from his past, which makes you wonder what the Cubs plan to do with Russell in the future. But that’s a story for another day.

Is Zobrist’s absence that big of a deal considering the rest of the offense has played well? He wasn’t exactly crushing the ball before he left the team with a .241/.343/.253 slash line.

It just seems like once the Cubs move farther down their lineup, there isn’t much of a threat after the big bats. Maybe Descalso wouldn’t be struggling as much if Zobrist was getting in the lineup a few days a week? After all, he was brought in to platoon at second base, not start every day.

Descalso’s slump has really hurt the Cubs over the last week as they’ve gone 4-6 in their previous 10 games. He’s been an automatic out almost every time he comes to the plate. Zobrist left the team for personal reasons on May 8. Descalso has four hits and a 30.4 percent strikeout rate since he left.

At least one of those hits helped the Cubs complete a two-run comeback against Philadelphia last week. Unfortunately, the bullpen was unable to hold on leading to the Cubs 5-4 loss.

Next. Rough weekend at Wrigley points at three key problems. dark

The lack of production boosts the arrival of Albert Almora. The center fielder hit his seventh home run of the season Monday. He totaled five in all of 2018 and is one home run shy of tying his career high.

Rest assured, the Chicago Cubs offense is doing fine, but I do hope the front office doesn’t ignore this small flaw come late July. If they want to compete for a World Series championship, there’s nothing wrong with adding more depth throughout the roster.