Asked before Sunday’s game for a “wish list” before the July 31 trade deadline, Joe Maddon replied: “We have to become a little bit more offensive in the right moments. I’m certain, I would believe, we are looking in that particular area. I think our starting pitching and bullpen are in good shape. If you could add that element, one more consistent at-bat, one more pro at-bat … we’re missing (Ben) Zobrist. He’s the perfect guy.”
And now here comes the bad news.
The Cubs manager said Zobrist will not return “anytime soon” and added he has not been in contact with him of late.
“I have not texted ‘Zo’ in a while and I need to do that,” he said. “I’ve been relying on Theo to carry on that conversation.”
Cubs President Theo Epstein expressed optimism before the All-Star break, saying: “We expect him back later this year. We have sort of a soft understanding of when that might be, but I don’t want to put a timetable on it or overly rely on it, either.”
Maddon is not counting on the return of Zobrist, the 38-year-old switch-hitting infielder who was MVP of the 2016 World Series.