Hardball Times on Zambrano

Since I didn't get around to a TCR Friday Notes, I'll post a few interesting articles from the most wonderful Hardball Times. The first is a look at the best hitting pitchers in baseball and to no one's suprise, Z and Marquis were among the best in the bunch in 2006. But other than just ranking the current and the past pitchers and their hitting prowess, it's one of the first articles I've seen that actually tries to answer how much of an effect a pitcher's hitting abilities has on the days they start. I'll let you guys do the reading but here's the cliff notes version.
  • Top 5 hitting pitchers last year were Willis, Mulder, Z, Marquis, Suppan. The Cards will not only be hurting on the mound from Marquis and Suppan's departures and Mulder's early season absence, but it might end up hurting their offense as well.
  • The best hitting pitchers can shave a quarter run off their ERA over the course of a season.
  • The career leader in home runs by a pitcher is Ned Williamson at 51. Watch out Ned, Z's coming for you (he's at 10).
The conclusion was also worth noting:
Let’s promise to no longer ignore a pitcher’s accomplishments at the plate. Sure, they might seem inconsequential compared to what he does on the mound, but every little bit of performance is important. Good hitting pitchers can provide themselves with a small advantage worth maybe half-a-win a season. Nevertheless, in today’s world, half-a-win is worth well over $2 million, so it’s nothing to scoff at either. Maybe that might start to explain Jason Marquis’ contract.
The second article is a look at ten pitchers in baseball and their projected stats from PECOTA, CHONE and Marcel. Z gets a mention and I imagine his projections seem a bit high to us Cub fans (here's the abbreviated table):
           IP    ERA    BABIP   K/9    BB/9    HR/9   K/BB
PECOTA     215   3.79   0.278   8.8    3.9     0.92   2.3
CHONE 2.1  205   3.45   0.285   8.7    4.0     0.83   2.2

Marcel     189   3.48           8.4    4.0     0.86   2.1

AVERAGE    203   3.57   0.282   8.6    3.9     0.87   2.2
If Z is in the 3.50 range in ERA, 2007 will not be a good season for the Cubs, no matter how well he hits. And while everyone is counting down until pitchers and catchers report (4 days by the way), I've got my eye on 8 days, which is when Z's arbitration hearing is scheduled for and what could be a big day for the future of the franchise. If Z and his entourage have to sit through an arbitration hearing listening to the Cubs take shots at his game, his future as a Cub beyond 2007 grows ever more unlikely.


Snore. Fans of bad ballclubs talk about good hitting pitchers for lack of much other positive. Dear God, lets hope that good hitting pitchers is about # 3,478 th on the list of positives with the Cubs in 2007!!

I doubt that Z will go to arbitration. Hendry and the Cubs have shown the abilty to avoid those hearings for a long time, and I can't see them allowing this one to go all the way. I bet Hendry will sign him to a one year deal, possibly as late as the 19 and then work on an extention through out the early part of the season.

I look forward to seeing this staff get a chance to hit. At least twice through the rotation we have a chance to have 9 hitters in the lineup. And IF Prior gets the last spot in the rotation, you have another pitcher that can handle the bat.

Snore. Fans of bad ballclubs talk about good hitting pitchers for lack of much other positive.

Just an interesting offseason story dude. The Cards seemed to have one of the best bunches last year and they were hardly bad.

I bet Hendry will sign him to a one year deal, possibly as late as the 19

Heck, I think they signed Ohman the morning of his arbitration hearing last year. I'll take the same...

Kris Benson out for the season...doh!


He was 3.41 last year and I imagined with a better offense around him and not having the pressure to be perfect every time out to win, he will be fine.

And the Cubs will be fine too.

Any bets on when Anna Benson walks out on Kris?

"The best hitting pitchers can shave a quarter run off their ERA over the course of a season."

Whoah. So Marquis would have had an even worse ERA if not for his hitting?

Can he play center field?

“The best hitting pitchers can shave a quarter run off their ERA over the course of a season.”

exactly how does what a pitcher does while hitting effect what the opposition does when he's pitching?

baseball is a harder game than i thought, evidently.

At least twice through the rotation we have a chance to have 9 hitters in the lineup.

Not if Izturis is our shortstop.

it's the overall effect of his hitting fellas, not literally taking a quarter run off his ERA.

Two pitchers have a 4 ERA, but the better hitting pitcher gets better run support to a tune of a quarter run over the year, meaning their overall effect on the game is better than the average hitting pitcher with the 4 ERA.

awhile back somebody posted stats that show murton hits on the ground A LOT. considering that along with his OBP and power levels, where in the order is best for him?

hey rob, how about taking a TCR poll on lineup predictions? could be fun.

I like Murton hitting 2nd.

I think it was "The Book" that said teams should put their best hitter in the #2 spot, not the #3 spot. I tend to agree...

Unless you have 2 OBP machines in the #1 and #2 spots, I'd love to see Soriano, Lee, Ramirez get a guaranteed AB in the first inning. Good luck opposing pitchers...

I just read on cubs.com that the Cubs' pitchers have led the majors in strikeouts for the last six seasons. If that's true, that's amazing. The turnover on our pitching staff has been high, with the only constant being Zambrano, and he has only been around for 4 1/2 of those six.

Obviously, we put a premium on missing the bat. Lilly is a high strikeout guy. So is Hill.

From BP's Week in Quotes:

"A law professor of mine, who wrote 12 books on the subject of labor law, a very bright guy, said to me, ‘I’m watching what you do here, you’re going to be very good at what you do, so remember this -- if you’re really good at what you do as a lawyer, 90 percent of what’s said about you will be negative.’ And you know what, that’s just about right, just about right."

So true.

WSJ reporting the Braves will be bought by Liberty Media. I think they should make a statement and can Shuerholz and all his scouts. :)

That injury checklist T-shirt is awesome. I may just have to get one of those.

im not trying to feel out anything, but is using an AP photo with proper reference attribution fair use?

seriously, i dunno if its grey area, legal, or not and have wondered for a while.

you got me, but it's not my pockets they'll be going after. :)

The MVN folks seem to think it is covered under fair use, I personally disagree. If I was a professional photographer or someone who owned a service like Getty Images, I wouldn't want anyone using the images for free. And if you look at the criteria for what is "fair use", I don't think our usage falls under those guidelines.

If anyone ever emailed me to stop using their photo, I'd take it down in a heartbeat. I think if/when MVN is large enough that someone notices, they'll start getting letters, but at that point they'll probably be able to afford a wire service like Getty or AP.

i still dont understand how an area like phoenix, denver, or san diego hasnt just bought shuerholz outright to GM their "attractive" city jobs. give him a house, a few million, years, and a corner office.

he's the king, been the king, and isnt known for being a dick to work with. he has a wide communication circle and isnt feared as much as he is respected.

i know he likes atlanta and the team and what he's built, but he's on owner #3 and the payroll's been a bit stagnant for a few years.

thnx rob

Jon Lester reports at Red Sox camp: link; includes photograph.

I'm really glad he's doing well.

Benson out due to Rotator Cuff Tear...ex-Cub Steve Traschel in. O's ink Slow Steve to 1 yr $3+ Million; heard Ken Rosenthal on XM tonight with the story

O's collecting ex-cubs?

If Z is in the 3.50 range in ERA, 2007 will not be a good season for the Cubs, no matter how well he hits.

So... confused...

Just caught an interview with Big Z on CSN SportsNite. I try not to read too much into these things, especially when they edit out the actual questions that were asked, but it certainly didn't leave me optimistic about the Z situation. He basically said "I'm not worrying about the arbitration hearing. I need to get paid, and if the Cubs don't want me, I can become a free agent and lots of teams want to sign me." He also said that he's absolutely not negotiating during the season.

Again, who knows what the questions really were, but I'd really rather hear the standard "I want to stay, hopefully we'll work something out" line.

To quote Hawk, the single worst announcer in pro sports--except for Bill Walton--"he gone."

WGN showed the quotes as vorvare speaks of. He, in his Sosaesque english, said that he is out of here if they don't pay up. I've watched the season with (offseason) great fun. Here is the pathetic thing: $21 mil for Marquis who will be AAA by June, $13 for DeRosa, and worst to worst (that Murton gets screwed) Floyd could hit $17 mil (highly unlikely). FOr the sake of argument, let's cliff hit that $17 mil. ANd Murton goes to another team with Ryan THeriot and become all-stars, but I digress.

So, take the 21+13+17 (again, worst case)=$41 mil.

That is enough for 2.5 season of Z.

If they spend all this money and cheap out over "Z" they are complete idiots. I don't care about hometown discounts etc. Hendry still managed to piss away at minuum, $30 on crap. Murton and Theriot are going to be quite good, but instead we have broken down local guy and a guy who is best coming off the bench. Oh and the brillantly heathly Istzuis. I cna't spell because I am half asleep..

THe point of this rant is simple. YOu lose Z, you lose all credibitabily. Aram was the most important signing and all fell into place. How can you replace Z? YOu can't. oh, in hendry's mind perhaps Wade Miller or Jason Marquis can be a #1. Or that stud, Mark Prior. 7 years is absurd. However, you could probably get him for 5...for more per year. They lose him, they will be waiting another 99 years.

That would prove once and for all that they are all morons. Just where was a market for Marquis at that price? And, even f there was, who cares?

SOrry, but Soriano can't pitch. Nor can Felix Pie. Maybe Jose Guzman can retire. After all, he won all those Cy YOungs after Maddux left. Larry Himes has returned. It is unreal that they have come to playing a game of chicken with their best pitcher. Woody is tough as nails, but not what he was. YOu cough it up.

And, then, raise my season ticket prices again. I don't care.

Sign him you morons!

problem with the Z situation is he's not just the cubs best pitcher...he's the best young pitcher with no peer coo
he's been worth a lot of month for a long time and his signing value now is probably the same as his signing value 8 months from now. the time to lock him up going cheap on the years and/or loot was last year, preseason.

he's gonna get a stupid amount of money for a crazy chunk of years whether the cubs give it to him feb/march or someone else does in nov/dec.

"with no peer coo
he’s been worth a lot of month"

bah! i accidently edited out like 2 and 1/2 sentences trying to remove a stray letter...sigh...its not that important anyway.

Sign him you morons!

With what?

Hendry only has two years left. He's trying to win it all THIS year, so he really doesn't care about Zambrano long term. I'm guessing any "Zito money" the Cubs might have had is already spent.

According to WGN-tv news this morning Z gives the Cubs until opening day. If not signed to an $ 18 million a year contract he will be gone.

Carlos in a hush tone-
"I'm ready to sign, I will do my job either way. If I'm not signed I must go that's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."

Oh boy he's talking about himself in the third person.

I still believe they sign him.

Win this year? I htink all these guys have longer deals--which means, yes win, but compete a lot in the future. With Z you lose that chance. Lilly will be here 2 years from now, why not Z?

They better not plead poverty now. No way, no how. i smell a macfail/himes mess brewing. Or maybe that an sign to change my coffee machine filter.

If z is gone, I buy direvt TV so I can watch the Phillies

The all-time HR leader for a pitcher is Wes Farrell with 38. Ned Williamson is just a bad data point.

A. I shall repeat, who the heck cares how well a pitcher hits or doesn't hit. It's a bullcrap stat passionately followed by fans of teams with little else to root for.

B. Carlos Zambrano will be resigned by the Cubs. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not by Opening Day. But he WILL get his payday, and it WILL be the Cubs doing the paying. Don't let the posturing and blustery language fool ya.

The most amazing pitcher with a bat that was also a great pitcher may have been the Big Train himself, Walter Johnson. He had a lifetime OPS+ of 76. And unlike today's pampered pitchers, he pitched 300+ IP year in, year out, so he got a LOT of ABs, his hitting lines aren't small-sample biased at all. 100+ ABs a year was typical.

For point of reference, Zambrano's career OPS so far is +46; Marquis is +44. Mike Hampton is +66, Dontrelle is +57.

Every winning team has at least one, if not two "aces" on their squad. There is no one CLOSE to Z's caliber now on the team. And, as we've all heard, Hendry has said numerous times about "Its just the price of poker now". I would think everybody in management would know that letting Z go will mean catastrophe for the team's chances. Again, as you Hendry bashers have pointed out, why didn't he deal with this issue BEFORE all others?! Why not take a pre-emptive strike like the 'Stros did? I certainly was on board with MANNY TRILLO and the rest of you bashing Hendry for two years of being asleep at the wheel. But I gave him credit as well for the recent signings. However, once again, due to his shortsightedness, the team will now have to scramble and pay through the nose when perhaps it could have been avoided.

Honestly, we do not know for sure if there was any efforts to resign him to an extension during the last 12 months, but it sure smells like a Hendry "Doh!" moment.

ESPN.com has a new article on Z and Z's comments are much harsher than been passed off here in the comments.


"Zambrano says he will walk if Cubs don't sign him"

Carlos Zambrano has issued an ultimatum to the Chicago Cubs -- sign me now, or say goodbye when the 2007 season is over.

"Whatever happens, I don't want to know [anything] about a contract during the season. I want to sign with the Cubs before the season starts," the Cubs' pitching ace said in an interview on WGN-TV, according to the Chicago Tribune. "If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."

With all that being said, I am pretty confident Hendry will sign Z. He has no choice, much like with ARam. Hendry will have to pay Z, Zito like money. Z is just making his intentions public and Hendry will have to bite the bullet. But hopefully he goes the Lee route and gets him signed now instead of letting him go to FA like he did with ARam and possibly lose him.

E-Man, with all due respect, any fool (e.g., Jim Hendry) can open up a wallet and shower mega money on people. Hendry has done very little that is smart. He shelled out $300 million this offseason mainly because his farm system continues to be a joke. That and the fact that Hendry simply can't make a good trade (the Nomar deal notwithstanding) unless he's got the other team over an economic barrel.

Hendry will deserve no kudos when the Cubs eventually sign Zambrano.

If I am Carlos Zambrano, then I say to the Cubs it will take a minimum of $125 million to get me to sign on the bottom line. Zambrano has ALL the leverage on his side. He is young, he is healthy and he is a demonstrated power pitching workhorse. Johan Santana and Z should be, relatively soon, the two highest paid pitchers in baseball.

Hendry should find out what he could get for Z in a trade.

Towel: Yes, I can certainly appreciate your point. However, I don't think "anybody" can open a wallet like what happened during the offseason. Keep in-mind that there for SURE were plenty of "anybodies" waiting in the wings. ARam without a doubt was re-signed for much less than he would have gotten for the Angels, et. al. Book it. There is something to say for relationships and management style.

Yes, the farm system is depleted except in one area: pitching. There are six players, Hill, Marmol, Marshall, Veal, Gallagher, Pignatiello - at least - who will be Major League pitchers.

I would think AZ Phil would (and probably has) agree with this.

While I agree Hendry has f'd up many things, and wasted my Season Ticket money, by not giving him a little credit for these guys is a bit short sided in my opinion.

Unfortunately, as MANNY states, he has no choice but to open the wallet wide once more.

If the team stinks by the All Star break, would Z be traded?

who cares how much? the cubs will sign Z to that extension before the season starts. count on it. even hendry is still coherent enough from that krispy kreme sugar high to know that Z is money.

Well, sounds like it's a done deal then. Hendry signs Z for around 6 years and $126 and will have spent $430 million by the end of ST.
BTW, isn't Barry Zito only making $10 million this year?

First, I have to know..JD too.. is that a reference to the great (and smart--seriously what are the Red Sox thinking?) JD Drew? I like the screen name. i lived in Philly for years and the hate of him was so strong (for not signing after the draft) was extraordinary. I'll never forget it. Philly fans, but they do have that Freddie Garcia to fall back on.

Please don't think about trading him now. It has been 2 full years since hendry made a decent trade (Cotts is too early to judge)...can you imagine him trading with the O's again? We might be lucky to get a can of spit, some used balls, and the humidor that they use in Colorado. I know we were dumping guys, but as the Sun Times points out, any "desperation" trade (sosa, JJ, Z) would net us little. Juan Pierre is the classic example. 200 hits? Who cares? Sergio Mitre--God bless him, but I am thrilled he is gone...any check the numbers on the other two guys he traded?

I like Jimmy to some extent, but trading Z would kill me. I am not criticizing any of the posts...but I guess I am too scared. It is funny, as a season ticket holder since 1985, I still don't trust. I believe, but don't trust. Believe.

Would Carlos take 5 years? He would still be young when the contract is over? Or would the Cubs slide in an Aram/JDD out clause? anything to keep that dude here. WHOOPS...dusty word.

Somewhere, Joe Altobelli is smiling, unless he died. I can't remember.

Well, I used to just be JD in parachat, but someone registered that name so I couldn't use it anymore. I decided to go the route of the Teen Wolf franchise and let people know that I'm still still with myself. And Jason Bateman. I, too, have a big hate-on for JD Drew and not only because his name sounds like my TCR handle. He's also better looking than I am. There's only so much a guy can handle, ya know.
And I'm not saying that I WANT Z to be traded, but I think Hendry wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't at least see what's out there. That said, I think Z gets signed because, with the market how it is, there's no reason not to.

I shall repeat, who the heck cares how well a pitcher hits or doesn’t hit. It’s a bullcrap stat passionately followed by fans of teams with little else to root for.

Apparently your not familiar with our slogan here at TCR, Silent Towel....

Analyzing the Cubs to death since 2001.

It's small, rather insignificant portion of the whole game but something that struck me as interesting nonetheless.

How much trade value does Z seriously have at this point? We are not too likely to get a great player or great prospects in return for trading Z now, unless Z would sign a long-term deal with new team as part of the trade. Otherwise, the new team might just be getting a one-year rental and that would reflect in the quality of the player(s) we would get in return. So it seems like there really are only two options: Either sign the guy before the season or, if Z stays true to his word, watch him walk away.

Carlos Zambrano stands zero chance of being traded. Zero. So why even deal in the hypothetical of his trade value. Jim Hendry has absolutely zero choice but to sign Zambrano to a long term deal. And that long term deal will probably wind up costing Donuts Hendry and his magical check signing pen a cool $125 million...or more. But hey, the high school baseball coach masquerading as a big league GM doesn't care. He ain't goin' to be around to suffer the long-term consequences of these fat money deals.

I would not say there is zero chance that Z will not be back with the Cubs in 2008. Stranger things have happened.

Recent comments

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  • That is pretty fucking dumb.

  • "The Seattle Mariners have agreed to trade slugger Mark Trumbo to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for catcher Steve Clevenger, a source confirmed to ESPN's Jim Bowden."

    yeah, that steve clevenger.

  • St Louis offered $30MM less than Toronto...so around $185MM or $26MM per year. When those type of numbers and details are released, it is rarely just pulled out of thin air. Sounds pretty legit that they put up a bit of a fight.

  • Where did you get 30ish number?

  • Close second to Ronny

  • Dumber than Ronny Cedeno?

  • runner-up seems to be as strong as in the bidding as it gets aside from winning the bid.

    STL has money to spend, but how much they were willing to spend was up in the air...and now they threw around a 30m-ish offer to a top FA pitcher.

  • You believe they were in the bidding, I have an ice rink on Clark to sell you

  • Oh God, no Adam Eaton he's dummber than a bag of wet hair. keep him awsy

  • Edit: Not advocating for Miller, just pointing out it has more legs than some of these other guys.

    There's this:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/shelby-miller-pseud... (link is external)

    And this:
    Jerry Crasnick ‏@jcrasnick 6h6 hours ago
    #Braves are smitten with Jorge Soler, person said. Julio Teheran likely wouldn't get it done. Could Miller spark interest from #Cubs?

  • Jorge Soler:
    2016: $3M
    2017: $3M
    2018: $4M (or salary arbitration 2018-20)
    2019: $4M (or salary arbitration 2019-20)
    2020: $4M (or salary arbitration 2020)



    1. Carlos Carrasco
    2016: $4.5M
    2017: $6.5M
    2018: $8M
    2019: $9M (club option with $662,500 buy-out)
    2020: $9.5M (club option with $662,500 buy-out)


    - OR -  


  • wow, so STL is ready to throw 30m down on a pitcher? yow...that changes the offseason outlook a bit.

  • it seems greenkey is supposedly not going to be a cub so it leaves cueto or trade...or scrap heap.

    rather than 1000000 articles linking the cubs to zimm/price, that leaves 10000000 articles about heyward to be written (and therefore soler-trade speculation).

  • Guess who was runner-up in the Price is Right?


  • the more pieces that fall, the more it seems like soler is going to be playing in ATL next year.
    Not a fan of ex-cardinals. It was tough enough watching Jim Edmonds.
    Hope they don't go after Shelby GT Miller


  • greenkey, cueto...or...umm...a trade with ATL?


    i haven't heard the cubs linked to greenkey, but there were 100000 articles about whether the cubs would be snagging zimmerman or price.

    the more pieces that fall, the more it seems like soler is going to be playing in ATL next year.