The Cubs may have finally reached the point where they have to put some sauce on it and eat the $27 million left on Carlos Zambrano's contract.
Zambrano stormed off the field Friday after allowing four runs in the first inning against the White Sox and accused everyone from Derek Lee to the clubhouse boy of dogging it on defense? Seriously? You're giving up line drives all over the place, Zambrano, and you're going to blame your fielders?
Lee and Zambrano had to be separated after Lee told the pitcher to pipe down as he walked the length of the dugout shooting his mouth off. It was like Milton Bradley with a fastball. Somehow the Cubs found a taker for Bradley -- whose troubles picked up where they left off in Seattle. But they're not going to be so lucky this time. Bradley could still hit if he could get his act together. It looks like Zambrano's troubles are paired with a significant decline in his abilities on the mound.
It's going to hurt for the Cubs to eat that contract. But they already tried to banish the ineffective Zambrano to the bullpen and that didn't really fix anything. At some point the Cubs are going to have to stand up to the jerks in their own clubhouse. And after that they're going to have to think a little harder about some of the ridiculous contracts they lavish on players.
They gave Zambrano $91.5 million over five years in 2007. And before the ink was even dry he started to go downhill. And that's not even the biggest contract on the payroll. The Wee Bears have to pay Alfonso Soriano $18 million a year for the next four seasons thanks to the $136-million they gave him. He's played a little bit better this year (last year there was talk out of Chicago that he was washed up as a starter) but I don't think a .278 average with 10 homers, 35 RBIs and four stolen bases was what the Cubs had in mind when they signed him in 2007.
The speculation will start immediately following Zambrano's release about where he will end up next. The Cardinals are desperate for pitching and Zambrano threatened that he would sign with St. Louis prior to inking his present deal. He summoned the media to his locker at Wrigley field where he showed them a pair of Yadier Molina's shin guards that the Cardinals catcher donated for a charity auction and claimed they were from his "next catcher. Classy.
In short, I don't care how long Brad Penny or Kyle Lohse are out. I never want to see Zambrano in a Cardinals uniform. If the Redbirds have a chemistry problem now, adding nitro-glycerine to the mix surely isn't the answer.