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Rosenthal On Zambrano

Ken Rosenthal says of Carlos Zambrano:

"Imagine him wearing another uniform next season. Barring a sudden, unexpected twist, that's where this is going."

He goes on to run through various Zambrano suitors for the upcoming offseason: the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Astros, Angels, Dodgers, and Tigers.  Rosenthal throws the Rangers, Orioles, Mariners, and Phillies into the mix as well.  Might as well include the Blue Jays on that list as well.

As a lifelong Cubs fan, obviously it would be hard for me to see Zambrano depart. The biggest blunder in Cubs history was letting a 27 year-old Greg Maddux become a Brave. 

Still, I do wonder whether unlike Mad Dog at the time, Z's best years are behind him.  His climbing walk rate is scary, and you can't help but question the long-term health prospects for a power pitcher with his mileage.  What can we expect from Zambrano's age 27-31 seasons?  I really like the Mark Gubicza comparison.  Both are big righties who logged roughly 1,000 Major League innings before their 26th birthdays.  Gubicza was a horse up until his age 28 season, when the wear and tear started to catch up with him.   

If Zambrano straightens himself out and wins 15 games and the Cubs make the playoffs, fans will be clamoring for his retention.  However, the big picture outlook says to let him walk and take the draft picks, or even trade him in July.  The contract will be for a minimum five years, and perhaps as many as seven if he hits the open market.  $17MM annually might be below market value, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.


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Giving his love of hitting, you gotta like the Mets chances here don't you? At least the NL teams are high on the list.

Really don't see the Red Sox interested in that long of a deal. Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, they can probably get Schilling back for a year, then use the cheap young kids to round out the rotation.

Zambrano, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester and Clay Buchholz (on his present track) would be outstanding, but isn't going to happen.

Sox need to work out 1B, 3B, CF, LF for the long run, and thats going to require money.

I think you have seen the effect a guy like Schilling has had on Beckett, giving Matsuzaka and Lester the same chance, as well as some AAA starters would be good too.

Always in these starting pitching guys, its the Sox vs Yankees, though the Sox have barely been in on any of them. Zito was the latest one.

I say he will go to the Cubs/Mets/Phillies. That NL East.. Braves pitching, Marlins, Phillies, Mets.. each team is going to want to get better.

The Cubs really have a crappy organization. Zambrano wanted Oswalt money before the offseason, they've stalled and stalled, and now they've really botched things. Despite the numbers, Lilly and Hill are #3 pitchers, Jason Marquis is a #4 or a #5, without Zambrano this team is going to be sunk for a decade considering all the crappy draft choices they make. Zambrano is too much for $15 million a year? That's what they're spending on DeRosa, Izturis, and Scott Eyre this year. Too much? Give me a break. What a piss poor franchise.

Dental Plan -

What a piss poor comment. Cubs making crappy draft choices?

2000: Rd. 8 - Dontrelle Willis
2001: Rd. 1 - Mark Prior; Rd. 3 - Ryan Theriot; Rd. 4 - Ricky Nolasco; Rd. 14 - Khalil Greene;
2002: Rd. 4 - Rich Hill
2003-Present: Too hard to tell where the guys will end up but there is some promising talent like Sean Marshall (2003 Rd. 6), Eric Patterson (2004 Rd. 8), Sean Gallagher (2004 Rd. 12), Micah Owings (2004 Rd. 19), Donald Veal (2005 Rd. 2). 2006 is clearly to early to analyze.

This also doesn;t mention the likes of Pie and Zambrano.

I will concede to the fact that they have made poor 1st round decisions but for the most part, drafted players don't work out. That's why each team has 50 rounds EVERY SINGLE YEAR but there is only a 25 man active roster. The Cubs have had success finding pitchers after the 1st round.

Zambrano has proved that he may not warrant that big a contract. He has logged a lot of innings and his walk rate is increasing. Stud or Bust? At this point its 50/50.

"Still, I do wonder whether unlike Mad Dog at the time, Z's best years are behind him."

Let me end your wondering...they ABSOLUTELY are.

What is this, an ancient history lesson? You've got to be kidding with that list. First of all, it doesn't count when you draft a guy and can't sign him, every team drafts guys too low they know they probably can't sign, like the Indians did with Tim Lincecum, like the Devil Rays did with Andrew Miller, so forth. So you can throw out guys like Khalil Greene and Micah Owings right there. Second, what is Ryan Theriot's upside? Mark Loretta the past two years? Cubs fans think this guy is a 40 base steals threat, newsflash - he isn't. He's basically a 350 OBP, 350 SLG 2b type. What have Ricky Nolasco and Sean Marshall really accomplished at this point? Not much, not enough to be bragging you drafted them, that's for sure. Sean Gallagher? Oh wow, the Cubs managed to draft a pitcher who has had some minor league success, break out the party. Pie has proven nothing in the majors.

The fact is, the Cubs haven't drafted and developed a REAL position player in how long? 10 years? 15 years? Look at other teams during that time. How many players have the Devil Rays developed? The Braves? The Indians? It's ridiculous. Not one position player. That a piss poor franchise, without question. Now, I know what to expect in response. Some nonsense about how somebody who's not very good made it as a position player. Who cares. We're talking about legitimate good players here, not all of your sketchy examples. Comparing the Cubs to the Braves or Indians, it's just pathetic.

And lately it's been all old news. The Cubs' last few drafts look as unproductive as any in baseball.

And now, they blow money in stupid places and can't re-sign Zambrano? Look at this self-denial that's already under way. "Zambrano's not worth the money anyway." Oh yeah. What else are you going to buy with that money? Look at the pitching available in the offseason. Jason Jennings probably stands to get 4 years at $12 million a piece, you're not going to spend Zambrano's money on anything better.

They spread Zambrano's yearly salary out amongst 2 or 3 mediocre players and now they don't want to pony up for the real thing. That's terrible decision-making, and what's even worse is the spin where people try and convince themselves it's a good thing. "Donald Veal and Sean Gallagher will be better than him anyway!" Yeah, okay kids. Donald Veal and Sean Gallagher, are they 2007 speak for Juan Cruz and Angel Guzman? Better prospects than them have crashed and burned, Gallagher is a pretty fringey guy to get excited about.

Without Zambrano, the Cubs are doomed. Keep telling yourself the packs of lies that he isn't worth like half of what Alfonso Soriano's total contract is, maybe you'll start believe it.

Just another note, this whole thing looks like Red Sox fans convincing themselves Johnny Damon sucks when his time came. The whole disingenuousness of a guy going from a hero to an overpaid bum in a month, you can see the flimsy way people try to convince each other it's a good thing, the talk that rings hollow about using the money to get someone better. Self-delusion.

I can't wait until Zambrano starts winning again and the talk of how good it will be to get rid of him turns increasingly desperate, frantic, and far-fetched.

On that Damon Red Sox thing, once people saw Crisp, they were begging for Damon.

Same thing here, Zambrano is worth pretty much whatever he asks to stay with the Cubs. They need that top line pitcher, or even a guy with top-line potential.

It may not be the greatest deal of all time, but its one the Cubs have to make.

Once again the Cubs FO is BLOWING IT. Of course, Cubs fans will try to soften the blow by pointing to Zambrano's poor start, but it's the same old story in Wrigleyville. Sorry, Ted Lilly is not a good pitcher. He's pulling the classic "mediocre AL pitcher moves to the joke of a league NL Central and is fake good." Wait for Marquis to implode.

Look at all of the money they BLEW this offseason.

Zambrano will improve, but still he remains incredibly overrated. Somehow though, his salary demands were not in line with how others view him. I can't say the Cubs blew it, because presumably with his poor start, the $85/5 (or whatever) price tag hasn't risen. I assume the Cubs still can sign him tomorrow if they want to, but after seeing the crap so far this year they're understandably hesitant.

Anyway, speculation says there will be a market correction this year - last year's SP insanity should be tempered by GMs' observation of just how many of these FA starters bust (and equally how many relatively unheralded minor leaguers and journeymen pitch just as well as the $8M Batistas and Weavers). Also the spike in salaries is likely related to the CBA.

So, where does that leave us with Zambrano? If he pitches this bad all season, maybe a one year, $12M deal? If he comes back to normal (i.e. very good, basically top of the 2nd tier), then the previous $85M/5 should be pretty easily attainable.

I too think he'll stay in the NL either way. I could see almost every team, short of the Marlins, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, Padres, and Giants going for him.

While I don't have faith that the Cubs would spend the excess money wisely, I am not trying to justify a future departure to myself. I really do believe that his next contract will be a large disappointment, no matter what the team.

I guess you can just make the case for the Cubs to sign him anyway because they don't develop well, but I'd rather suggest they just develop better. Tim Wilken is in town now.

I agree that Big Z's next contract will end up being a large disappointment. In a few years I could see his weight start to be an issue and possibly even cause him nagging injuries. Looking back the Cubs probably would have been best off ripping his contract up after last season and lock him up for a reasonable deal, say 4/50-55 mil. It would have been a lot better of a deal then overpaying for a bunch of marginal players and spending an insane amount on a guy who will only help your team in roto points. Struggling or not this season you have to consider Zambrano to still be a #1 starter and probably be good for a couple more seasons. But now after seeing all these monster contracts he will command atleast 6/100. Bad year or not, some sucker GM will cut the check(Baltimore/Seattle?) The last 2-3 years of that deal could be brutal.

I dont agree that his best years are behind him, that is complete BS. He has always walked a lot of people, he has always been a slow starter. He has about the same amount of wins this year at this time as last year. Everyone on here is just bashing him, yet will praise him if your teams signs him. Its kinda hard for the cubs to give him a big conract right now since they dont know who is going to own the team next year.

you are right, I do want my team to get him. I am sure he is going to turn his slow start around and be a good pitcher again. But he is going to get a huge contract by the Cubs or someone else this winter, like 6 or 7 years. For the first 3-4 years he should be worth it, but I'm not sure the last 3 or 4 years he will still be the kind of pitcher he will be getting paid to be. I could very easily be wrong, it's just my opinion.

If the Cubs can get him for 5 years and 80ish mil, I think its a great deal for the Cubs. Even if Zambrano had his average season for his career, every year, its worth it. He is right on pace with last year right now...how soon most of us forget. He will still get 14 or more wins this year and probably finish with an ERA below 4...like he always does. The guy is like 26 and people are saying his best years are behind him....why??? Because he had really good years? He will do as well in at least 3 of the next 5...so sign the man!!!

While Zambrano is one of the top pitchers in the league, the big strike against him is is immaturity and attitude.

I surmise his poor start must have something to do with that, and I'd wonder if his market value could suffer because of it.

Cubs fans have been waiting years for Zambrano to grow up, and seriously he needs to suck it up, not let the little things bug him and just pitch to his ability otherwise he could flame out in the next few years.

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