Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano says he’s ready to sign; the Cubs just need to put a reasonable contract offer in front of him. He’d sacrifice the chance to hit the open market after the season. It appears that five years and $90MM would get the job done. Zambrano would be likely to exceed Barry Zito‘s 7/126 on the open market, so this is a discount. He’d still be the highest-paid Cub.
Back in April, it was five years, $80MM. The Cubs have cost themselves $10MM by waiting, and that amount will continue to increase if Zambrano finishes strong and/or actually gets to free agency.
Zambrano has bounced back from a lousy start, and now his numbers are in line with career marks. I have to admit that in May I suggested that even 5/80 was a bad idea for the Cubs. Has Zambrano’s performance since then changed my mind? It certainly makes the decision tougher. I don’t have a good answer here; it depends on what the Cubs would do with the money if they let Z walk.