The latest Chicago Cubs rumors focus on the potential for the team to be without their 38-year-old utility man Ben Zobrist for the rest of the season. Right now, the Cubs are holding onto a slim lead in their division, but based on Zobrist's situation, it's up in the air if he'll be able to help with a push towards the playoffs. Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon recently talked about how he's preparing for the situation going forward.

Maddon, players comment on Zobrist situation

On Tuesday, Maddon told the media he has to look at the remaining season as if Zobrist won't be a part of it.

According to Chicago Sun-Times, Maddon said he hopes it's not the case he added, "...he’s at the point now where if he chose to come back, it’s going to take him a while to get back up to speed, too. We have to mentally be prepared that we will not have him."

Ben Zobrist left the team three weeks ago as he had a personal family matter to deal with. Later, it was learned that Zobrist is in the process of a divorce from his wife Julianna. Reportedly, Zobrist filed for a legal separation in Tennessee while Julianna filed for divorce in Illinois.

Zobrist's filing indicated his wife was "guilty of inappropriate marital conduct." The separation Zobrist filed in Tennessee was due to the fact the couple owns a home there.

They also have three children together.

Kyle Schwarber said that Zobrist is "missed" and added, "He’s been a guy who always puts in a professional at-bat every time he’s up there." Fellow teammate Anthony Rizzo called him "one of our best buds, on and off the field," and indicated that Zobrist has a "tremendous professional approach every day." He mentioned that younger players look up to a guy like Zobrist too.

Zobrist's impact, free agency

Just recently, the Chicago Cubs dropped a 9-6 game to the Houston Astros, another team leading their division right now. Since Zobrist's departure, the Cubbies are just 11-10. Without him, the batting order has seen some changes that he may have helped with. For example, Maddon commented he would have used Zobrist as a starter against the Astros' pitching in the last two games, per the Sun-Times.

As mentioned in the FOX MLB video clip below, the Astros are showing their status as a superior team in baseball. It can't solely be pegged as a Zobrist situation as there have been pitching woes to deal with as well. Recent reports of a Cubs prospect getting called up could help just a bit, but more may be needed.

Still, a guy who was integral to the Cubs' success over the past several years is missed and it could get worse. In addition to Zobrist's absence from the roster, he could also end up leaving for another team. Zobrist is in the last season of his Cubs contract.

He signed for $56 million over four years back in 2016 and is on a $12 million salary for the current year. He's on the restricted list and it's unknown if he's receiving any salary during the time he's away from the team for his divorce matters.

Chicago Cubs fans are certainly hoping for the best for Ben Zobrist in terms of working his personal situation out and ultimately getting back to business with the team. They'll be back in action on Wednesday night with an ESPN game against the Astros starting at 8 PM ET.