Carlos Zambrano

Ding Dong, Z is Gone

Well the big bad Zambrano has finally been traded away from the Cubs. Paul Sullivan and far too many Cubs fans may bust a hip at the grave dancing party. While I understand the move from the Cubs perspective, it's unfortunate that a player with such a great Cubs career had to end his Cubbie days like this. He may have been off his mental rocker, but he was damn good on the pitching mound and at the plate over 11 seasons to a tune of 125-81, an ERA+ of 122 and 3 Silver Slugger awards. The more recent down years, injury hiccups and temper tantrums may burn the brightest in our memories, but Z was doing the heavy lifting all those years the Cubs were waiting for Prior and Wood to get healthy. Could he have been better these last few years? Maybe, but I'm not gonna preach from the safety of my Internet connection on how an adult should behave himself so that it satiates my moral compass. He was what he was and part of what infuriated us, may be the same parts that helped him be so good on a baseball field. I for one will greatly miss watching him play, because it was clear he was having a lot of fun out there.

But his time with the Cubs has passed, if for no other reason that JedStein wants to start fresh and it did seem that his last episode not only pissed off the fans, but even his teammates. His days of a 200 innings a season have faded with the memories of 2007 along with the velocity on his fastball. I certainly could see him still putting up some decent seasons, but a fresh start with a new club and a new manager is probably the best setting for a career rejuvenation at the moment.

So enough about the old Cubbie, meet the new Cubbie - Chris Volstad.

Z and His Agent Finally Get Story Straight Plus Draft Signing Updates

If you were following the Z drama through the papers or through our comments, you would have noticed the healthy amount of spin his agent Barry Praver was putting on the situation, because there is nothing worse for an agent than losing out on the 10% commission of the $24M or so he's still owed. It went something along the lines of, he said nothing about retiring, wait, yes he did, but it was not meant for public consumption. He came back Friday and returned his stuff, no I meant Saturday...he never punched Michael Barrett, Michael Barrett fell on his fist, etc, etc...

Kapman today scored the first interview with Z and it appears they finally found the narrative they plan to go forward with. Essentially, yes Z did make comments about retiring, but they were all intended to be private (counterpoint: Cubs claim to have text messages saying "good-bye and thanks" from Z). He also tried to return to the team Saturday with his belongings, but was not allowed and naturally, does not agree with the Cubs punishment. They intend to file a grievance by the end of the day.

Anyway, the idea of Z gifting the Cubs $18M next year seems out the window, but give credit to the Cubs for seizing the opportunity to save $3M or so this year by putting him on the disqualified list. Him leaving early means nothing to me, but obviously it rubbed many of his teammates the wrong way and in the end he gets a longer vacation and Cubs fans get Casey Coleman.

And now for the rest of the story...

Big Z: "I received text messages of support from Sosa, Byrd, Ozzie, Jason Giambi, Pena, and Soriano." Also said he and Soriano are cool.

Surprised Derrek Bell didn't think to drop him a note...

Zambrano Hints at Retirement, Cubs Ready Gold Watch

Since this will be the talk of the weekend comments, let's recap tonight's festivities...

Carlos Zambrano started the game, he gave up five home runs in 4.1 IP and 8 ER, then decided he didn't want to wait for Q-Ball to take him out and just threw at Chipper Jones.  At least he had the deceny to not throw at his head. With the calmness of a serial killer, he walked off the mound, seemed to say a few words to someone on the bench and then proceeded to pack up his locker, go home and apparently told a few folks he's retiring.

There's even a silver lining in the Cubs 2011 cloud.

Because if he retires, he saves the Cubs $18M next year, not to mention the roughly $4.5M he's owed for the rest of this year.

Jim Hendry's comment from Tennessee where he was watching the Smokies play was, ""We will respect his wishes and honor them and move forward."

(Ominous drum hits)

The Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano Cubs

Reader dcf (he of the Ron Santo for the Hall pieces from a few years back) stops by with a guest column on the Lee-Ramirez-Zambrano years


The August 18th trade of Derrek Lee to the Braves for three minor league pitching prospects represents not only the end of an era, but also the end (and to some extent the failure) of a long term strategy. For some time, the Cubs have built their team around three core players, Lee, Zambranoand Ramirez, allocating a large percentage of their available salary dollars to these players in long term contracts. This strategy has not yielded the results anyone would have hoped for.

On Z's Return, Lilly's Exit, and Girardi's No-Comment

— A season-high crowd of nearly 13,000—more than 5,000 above than the I-Cubs' average—was on hand for Carlos Zambrano's rehab appearance last night in Des Moines. 

Zambrano threw a bumpy but scoreless inning in which he got 10 of 15 pitches over the plate, but allowed two singles and was saved from a third hit by Sam Fuld's catch against the center-field wall. (See Mike Wellman's full account here.)

 

Current plans are for Zambrano to pitch in Round Rock over the weekend and then in Albuquerque on Tuesday before rejoining the big club in Colorado.

Big "Z" Returns to The Game

Carlos Zambrano got into his first game action since his infamous dugout meltdown at U. S. Cellular Field on June 25th, throwing a perfect 1-2-3 second inning (12 pitches - 10 strikes) at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa tonight.


The AZL Cubs lost the game 2-1, as the AZL Royals scored two runs in the top of the 6th off RHP Luis Liria (4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 6/4 GO/FO, 58 pitches - 37 strikes) to overcome a 1-0 deficit.


box score


Iowa Cubs RHP Jeff Gray (groin strain) got the start for the AZL Cubs, throwing one inning (12 pitches - 9 strikes) in what was his second rehab outing in three days (he threw an inning for the AZL Cubs this past Saturday night also). Gray struck out Cameron Connor (swinging) to lead-off the game, before surrendering a one-out single to Daniel Mateo. Gray then got out of the inning when Michael Antonio grounded into a room-service 6-4-3 DP. Gray has been on the I-Cubs DL since May 31st, and looks to be about ready to return to Des Moines.


There wasn't much Cubs offense tonight, as Royals pitchers limited the Cubs to just one run on four hits, retiring 10 of the last 11 Cub hitters. The Cubs scored their lone run in the bottom of the 4th when Albert Hernandez and Ryan Cuneo singled, advanced a base a piece on a well-executed double-steal, before Hernandez scored on a WP.


Here is Zambrano's inning, pitch-by-pitch:


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  • trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.

    eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.

    we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).

    crunch 8 hours 1 min ago view
  • As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.

    I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.

    billybucks 8 hours 21 min ago view
  • Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.

    billybucks 8 hours 22 min ago view
  • Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!

    What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.

    Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...

    The E-Man 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.

    The E-Man 8 hours 33 min ago view
  • Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.

    I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.

    billybucks 9 hours 31 sec ago view
  • Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?

    Maybe the three-headed dragon?

    John Beasley 9 hours 16 min ago view
  • Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth

    Eric S 9 hours 47 min ago view
  • Three amigos time?

    7-8-9th

    jacos 10 hours 2 min ago view
  • he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs

    crunch 14 hours 18 min ago view
  • Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.

    billybucks 14 hours 59 min ago view
  • ...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.

    I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.

    He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.

    billybucks 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.

    videographer 16 hours 58 min ago view
  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 18 hours 46 min ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 19 hours 20 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 19 hours 34 min ago view