Look for the Cubs to try to save a pile of cash -- both in the form of reduced salary and a lower bill for aspirin -- by making an effort to trade hot-headed starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano.
The frequent cause of headaches for Cubs management had a full no-trade clause. But he is said to be open to the idea of a change of scenery.
Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano apparently wants to be traded as much as the Cubs want to trade him. Which is a lot. AP photo.
From the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan:
Despite the fact that Zambrano has a full no-trade clause, the Cubs plan on shopping him this off-season, sources said, believing he'll waive the clause to go to the right team, as Jake Peavy eventually did when the Padres consummated a deal this summer with the White Sox.
Zambrano said recently he's weary of the media scrutiny after being criticized for playing softball on a scheduled day off during his rehab stint.
"Maybe if I go to a different city next year, if I get traded, I can do what I want," Zambrano told the Tribune.
Classy. I wonder if doing what he wants would include doing rehab and stengthening exercizes. Zambrano earlier this season blamed his two stays on the disabled list on his being too lazy to do his workout regimen. That's what you want to hear from a person who is being paid millions of dollars to be an athlete.
Sulllivan pointed out later in his story how strained the relationship between the Cubs manager and Zambrano had become:
And after Zambrano complained to manager Lou Pinieilla about being taken out early in his last start, Piniella joked Monday that he would have his entire bullpen sitting in the Waveland Avenue firehouse while Zambrano pitches a complete game.
While he has won only eight games this season, been on the disabled list twice and was suspended six games for "inappropriate and violent actions," the Cubs think they can find a taker, shed the contract and get some quality players in return.
I don't know who they think will take Zambrano and what they would be willing to give up to get him... Usually the Yankees can be counted on to lavish millions upon a player with what they consider to be an upside even if he has questionable character. But their rotation already includes high dollar pitcher C.C. Sabbathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte, all of which are expected back next year.
Would the Mets be willing to spend that kind of cash on another clubhouse problem? The Phillies? And, while Chicago is a major media market, it's not the fishbowl that is New York, Boston or Philadelphia. Would any of the big market burgs that could afford Zambrano's contract be a place where he would be distracted less by the media? That's doubtful.
I hope Zambrano stays with the Cubs. He sucks up a big chunk of their payroll and has only accounted for a handful of wins so far...