View From The Bleachers

June 26, 2010

Game 73: The Zambrano Situation

Filed under: Featured,General — Joe Aiello @ 7:29 am

First Star – Jake Peavy (.225 WPA)
Second Star – Carlos Quentin (.168 WPA)
Third Star – Alex Rios (.084 WPA)

It’s hard to know where to go from here with Carlos Zambrano. I was actually looking forward to his start against Peavy. I felt like it was one we could win if he could pitch the way he had in his last outing against the Angels. Safe to say that he didn’t quite reach those heights on Friday. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, take a look at the video before MLB takes it down:

Let’s start with the obvious. It’s unacceptable to act this way, despite the fact that Bob Brenly (who I typically really like) said it was good to see someone have a little fire on this team. No Bob, there is a difference between having a fire for winning and acting like my 4 year old son during an anger induced temper tantrum. Zambrano didn’t show fire. That was rage and it’s not appropriate under any circumstances on this team, especially not directed at Derrek Lee for a ball that even Juan Pierre said he could not have gotten to.

Now the question becomes what to do with Zambrano. Jim Hendry suspended Zambrano indefinitely after the gane and said they were fine playing with 24 guys. There really isn’t a way of handling a player like they do in the NFL where you can “Keyshaun” them and just not dress them. I did find this nugget in the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

Physical abuse or threats directed to members of the media (and/or official scorers) by baseball personnel will not be tolerated. Disciplinary action, including fines and suspensions, will be considered in any cases that arise.

When Zambrano left the Cell, it was reported that he was verbally abusive to camera crews covering the game. That should be enough for some sort of discipline from the league. But the issue still remains as you move forward.

Phil Rogers says “It’s hard to imagine the Cubs would release Zambrano, swallowing all of his contract. But they really should put him through waivers and see if any team would touch him for the waiver price.”

If you think Hendry has never put every member of this team on waivers only to pull them back or see them go unclaimed, you’re nieve. Rogers is better than that and I’m surprised he doesn’t know how the system works. The fact is, why would anyone want to take a player like Zambrano, who has more issues than anger, for the price he’s at? They will simply wait for the Cubs to get desperate enough to release him and then swoop in at league minimum to take a chance.

Al Yellon took the opinion:

Tom Ricketts and Jim Hendry, the ball is squarely in your court. Jim Hendry has been a players’ GM and has often gone way beyond where most managers of workers would go with bad behavior. He finally stood up to Bradley’s bad act last September. It’s time for him to stand up to Z. Thanks for the no-hitter, Z, and a few years of fine pitching which are way in the rear-view mirror. But it is time for you to play baseball elsewhere.

What Al doesn’t provide is a way to make that last sentence happen. It’s all fine and good to say that Z has to go, but how is it going to happen? There is going to come a time, sooner rather than later, where Zambrano is going to do something so ridiculous that the Cubs can’t help but release him. Every day that passes, the amount owed to him decreases. I’m just not sure we’re there just yet.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids and helps people protect their assets as an independent insurance agent. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail

  • Terrelle Pryor 2

    Kenny Rogers was suspended 20 games in 2005 for shoving 2 cameramen, so we’ll see. What I think the Cubs should do is after July 31, when you put all your players on waivers, if someone puts in a claim for Zambrano, try to work a trade out, and then if you can’t, just let him go, that way you’re free of his contract

  • Rich Beckman

    It’s nice to see that there are other people who believe Carlo’s temper tantrum is not the same as a positive display of emotion.

    Temper tantrums do not result in positive outcomes.

  • MoondogKP

    I’ve been a Z defender before here, but this is beyond defense. Brenly’s comment about someone on the team finally showing life is sad but true, though. There’s no rah-rah type among the position players, which I find sad knowing two played at LSU, where they don’t hide emotions much as a group.

    MLB GM’s, make us an offer! You want a good defensive 1B in his last year of a contract? How about a veteran lefty starter who always finds a way to keep a team in a game? They can be yours . . . if the price is right!

  • Joe Aiello


    That’s the problem. What GM would want Lee or Zambrano? Why would you want a guy like Lee who can’t even get to .250 at the plate? Why would you want Zambrano and all the baggage , not to mention poor performance, he brings to the table?

    The guys that are desirable (Lilly, Gorzelanny, Silva) are the guys that are actually keeping us from being the worst team in the Majors. Those are the potential trade pieces we have to look to peddle.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    Is it just me, or is Hawk one of the more annoying announcers in the game today. His ‘Heee-gawn’ call makes me cringe.

  • mastrickatwork

    Zambrano showed the fire that Piniella should show, he just did it the wrong way. If he had something to say he should have held it for after the game and done it behind closed doors with Piniella and the other players, but that’s not Carlos is it? Is lack of self-discipline has landed him in hot water this time and I seriously doubt he’ll accept counseling like Bradley did. Time for doo-doo to flow downhill; Ricketts needs to start leaning on Hendry and Hendry needs to start leaning on Piniella and Piniell needs to start leaning on the team. There’s way too much complacency on this team to warrant success.

  • MoondogKP

    Lilly was the lefty I referred to in my comment. And you know, I have liked Lee, but getting system filler or a guy still in rookie ball for him if the other team will pay him the rest of the year would be fine at this juncture. His stoicism was good when there were others to play the emotional roll. Now, it just annoys lots of people.

    Right now, if Hendry or his replacement (if the Ricketts come back from Africa and demand his head immediately) should be looking to deal anyone that doesn’t figure into 2012 at this point. This year is lost, and with the contracts on the books and wave of kids still a year away, 2011 doesn’t look too promising either.

  • Jesse

    It’s been a while since I commented on the Cubs. I’ll be honest, this season is sucking the life out of my fandom. Wasted talent, opportunity, and an especially mediocre NL Central has me ridiculously excited to be watching World Cup (which by the way, U S A!). Anyhow, Z’s outburst yesterday wasn’t just another one of his temper tantrums, it was a distasteful show of emotion proving he is no more mature than when he started. Swallowing contracts in baseball sucks, but maybe that’s the name of the game here (or maybe we get lucky and pull a Silva type trade). Nonetheless, the crappy thing is that he’s talented enough to probably do well on another team before he blows up again (I’m gonna freak out if he pitches in the World Series without the Cubs). Joe, I think you hit it right on the head that we might need to use one of our real trade chips and then make someone take Z on with it (I like to call that pulling a NBA trade). Should be interesting… Sad day for the Cubs, though.

  • MoondogKP

    For those of you sick of the primadonnas and uninterested players, maybe you should watch ESPN at 7 p.m. tonight. Cheer on the Gamecocks (my employer), who have had an outstanding season so far.

  • regis

    brenly ftw

  • Chris

    First of all, Zambrano is your typical Cub these days: overrated, and overpaid. The only thing he’s good at is throwing a fit.

    Everybody loves D Lee, but to me his game has gone completely down the crapper. Can’t hit anymore, and apparently can’t field either. Too many stupid errors and too many balls get by him. Maybe he couldn’t have fielded that specific ball, but I didn’t exactly see a lot of effort either.

    Hendry has succesfully turned the Cubs into the New York Knicks of a few years ago. Terrible team, horrible contracts, and there was really nothing they could do until the contracts ran out and they could finally get some cap space. Most of these Cub players are untradeable because they make way too much money as compared to their performance level.

    It’s going to get worse before it gets any better…

  • mastrickatwork

    Zambrano might be easier to trade than Ramirez, perhaps we could get assumption of salary for him. Carlos might get the message this time and shape up however. Lee is gone after this year as is Piniella; Ramirez has an opt out after this season but there’s no way he’d get $16M so he’ll be with the team next year and get bought out the next year. Soriano is actually playing half-decent, Fukudome is overpriced but will be a serviceable bench outfielder for the duration of his contract. So things aren’t all bleak, at least some of the non-performers will be gone next year and there will be a new management.

  • lizzie

    Long long time ago, before Zambrano’s first game this season, we entered into a little contest here at VFTB. When will his first blowup occur. Congrats to Terrelle Pryor, Mark, and Doc Raker for picking the correct choice (May 1 through All Star Break). Rough BTS day … the only folks who retained their streaks are those who didn’t play.
    mrbaseball2usa = 3
    April = 1
    Doug Bagley = 1
    Oh yes and Rich Beckman, as you noted, your pick didn’t play so you got to retain your streak too. :-)
    Everyone else = 0.

  • Terrelle Pryor 2

    I totally forgot about that contest Lizzie.
    And Chris, the Knicks are still going to be a terrible team. Because their master plan is going to blow up in their face. They aren’t getting anyone. LeBron James is coming to Chicago!

  • cap’n obvious

    I was thinking that the only reason they brought his fat ass back from the pen was in hopes he’d have a decent outing or three, and they’d be able to move him at the trade dealine for something other than a bag of used balls and some Double Bubble. Since his tantrum has basically caused that friggin’ ship to sail, I look for a quiet waiver, and an option to Iowa (outright release essentially) to be forthcoming. Who would eat the money, much less trade for him at this point? I realize that Carlos and his fans will believe that it just might be everyone else, but it has to be clear to Cub management and realistic folks that Z is a cancer and must go, costs be damned.

    Remember in ’04 when we had Wood, Prior, and Zambrano, who at the time might have been 3 of the best 4 pitchers in the National League. What a sickening waste of talent. Hayden Simpson, yeah, that guy is the answer to all of this…

  • Doc Raker

    So maybe Michael Barrett wasn’t such an axxhole. I guess it was just Zambrano was the axxhole that could win more games. Now that Z can’t even pitch he is just an overpaid axxhole. Hey, we thought we couldn’t move Hasbro and that worked out well. You never know, we could move him for someone elses overpaid axxhole.

  • Danny B

    I’m actually embarrassed to be a fan of this team right now. It’s obvious that Piniella has no control of this team whatsoever. This season is turning into a circus act. And let’s be realistic, the Cubs aren’t going to trade 9 out of every 10 players that are currently being run out of town. Thank Jim Hendry for making that impossible.

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