Epstein On Zambrano, Volstad, Soriano

The Cubs officially traded Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins for Chris Volstad today, paying all but $2.5MM of the $18MM owed to him next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke to reporters after the trade was announced, so let's recap…

  • "Best case scenario is that if it did work, [Zambrano would] be leaving as a free agent at the end of the year," said Epstein to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "Or, if we had to spend that money anyways as a sunk cost, would we rather spend it on a 25-year-old who we can put in our rotation and control for three seasons? That made a lot more sense."
  • "At some point in the future, if there's a transaction that makes sense with any of our players that puts the Cubs in a better position moving forward, we are going to pursue it," said Epstein to ESPN's Chicago's Bruce Levine. "But in respect to [Alfonso Soriano], he has power and is an offensive contributor. We can work with him to get the best out of him and see where that takes us."
  • A couple of teams have inquired about Soriano according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter), but so far the Cubs have been unable to find a match. The outfielder still has three years at $18MM per season left on his contract.

55 Responses to Epstein On Zambrano, Volstad, Soriano Leave a Reply

  1. James DeMott 4 years ago

    Theo Epstein is a thieving…mastermind.

  2. ur point? Zambrano was 18 million this year.

  3. James DeMott 4 years ago

    Actually no. I take that back. Miami are thieving masterminds. Whoops.

  4. EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

    I’m soooo sick of seeing Soriano out in left field and at the plate. The mere sight of his horrid glove and plate discipline force me to change the channel right away. Please get rid of him.

    • rjc 4 years ago

      Send him down to us in Tampa Bay.  Eat $15 million per year of his salary and we’ll send you your pick of Wade Davis or Jeff Neiman.

      • EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

        I’m on the phone with Epstein right now.

      • Wrek305 4 years ago

        Wade Davis? Really .. wow you would be worse then Jim hendry.. and Jeff nieman that’s like trading maddux for izturis. Haha. How about Soriano 100%of his salary for Davis and a PTBNL.

    • Khabibulan 4 years ago

      Sunk cost. Trade him for Vin Scully and eat his entire salary.

      • EdinsonPickle 4 years ago

        Well, Vin would probably walk more than Soriano, and he does call a mean game.

      • lefty177 4 years ago

        you’d have to throw in Starlin Castro too to make it even

  5. GMwannabe 4 years ago

    Not sure how this wasnt great for the Cubs.. Frankly, they were lucky they found someone to pay 2.5 for Zambrano.. plus they got back a serviceable arm.. what more were you guys looking for?

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      Let’s please call this for what it was. It was the right thing to do for the Cubs but let’s not make Theo out to be some sort of wizard for this. He IS a great GM and DOES deserve the praise he gets but Z controlled all the power in this situation.

      I would imagine at least 5-8 mlb teams would’ve taken a chance with Z for $2.5 mil and were willing to lose a player along the lines of Volstad who was a non-tender candidate this year (mlbtr even wrote about his non-tender status). Fact is, Z w/ his no trade clause, pretty much orchestrated where he would allow himself to be dealt IF the Cubs wanted to deal him. In fact, mlbtr had a post discussing rumors that Z and Oz were talking directly about the possibility of a trade.

      Theo only did what he was allowed to do but DOES deserve the credit for being willing to eat $15 mil of his deal.

      • baseball52 4 years ago

        Keep in mind that the sole reason to keep Z, pitching depth, was recouped in this trade as well.

        • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

          There was ZERO reason to keep Z. The Cubs are going nowhere and couldn’t gotten someone off of the scrap heap to contribute 150 IP.

          I’m not knocking the move at all, I’m just saying it wasn’t a “genius” move at all. He did what was best but it was dictated to him and not a product of his own machinations. 

          • baseball52 4 years ago

            Having Casey Coleman and Rodrigo Lopez in your opening day rotation with no injuries would be a surefire way to get 50 wins. I don’t think that’s something they’re shooting for.

          • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

            Not trying to argue with you but the Cubs could spend $2 mil on Bartolo Colon or etc and have gotten what Z PROBABLY would’ve done in CHICAGO. He might do better in a change of scenery but that isn’t a concern for the Cubs.

            Again, no reason to keep him and they did what they had to do, if nor no other reason that to start fresh w/o distractions going fwd.

          • I agree that it wasn’t a “genius” move.  I am glad that HoyerStein didn’t waste time giving Zambrano another chance. The fact that Ozzie Guillen went to Miami has more to do with this happening than anything.  I wish Z the best though, as long as it isn’t against the Cubs.

          • Guest 4 years ago

            especially when the guy just cleans out his locker and leaves and then gives his teammates an f you out the door……

      • GMwannabe 4 years ago

        im not giving Theo props for the trade, im just saying he was lucky to get what he got and save the 2.5 mil.. given Zambrano’s personal issues and poor recent performance, i have serious doubts there were 5-8 teams interested in bringing in that cancer

      • Khabibulan 4 years ago

        Yeah, not a genius move. A needed one? For sure. Volstad is a decent back-end starter. Zambrano could wake up in Miami. I call it an even deal.

      • foxtown 4 years ago

        Epstein isn’t the GM.  Just sayin’.

  6. asovermann 4 years ago

    Makes sense, I’d rather have a 25 year old with multiple years of control than 30 year old Zambrano would the Cubs wouldn’t of resigned anyway. Why get nothing for him at the end of the year?

  7. Tired_OF_FakeRumors 4 years ago

    Zambrano comes with lots of problems, i know volstad was horrible but as far as im concerned volstad is not a club house cancer.

  8. jwsox 4 years ago

    I still think the whitesox and cubs should trade soriano for Dunn. Years are the same. Have the cubs send the difference in yearly average. Soriano goes to dh where he should be. And Dunn goes back to the nl and playing 1st where he is comfortable and a sure fire bet to bounce back.

    • baseball52 4 years ago

      We have a developing, defensive SS, the last thing we need is Dunn at 1B.

      • Speaking of which, does anyone know what LaHair looks like at First? Hopefully he’s willing to jump and layout for some of Castro’s misfires.

      • Khabibulan 4 years ago

        Defensive? what do you mean? Or are you saying he is still developing defensively…which I agree.

    • scott brecht 4 years ago

      God No.  Cubs lucked out when they didn’t sign him last year.  Soriano still produces offensively.  The White Sox would have to be the one’s sending over money in the deal and a lot of it.  

      • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

        interesting. it’s only one component of being a player but Dunn, at his absolute worst (horrific) had a .292 OBP because of his 15% BB rate. Soriano, had a .289. If Dunn can improve his BaBIP from a horrendous .240 then I have to think he can produce at least a .340 OBP which is still much more than what you should expect from Soriano.

      • Khabibulan 4 years ago

        I’d be much more willing to bet the Dunn bounces back than Soriano…
        I’d rather have Dunn.

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      I still think it’s more upside to hold on to Dunn than to settle for Soriano. I have no idea why Dunn was so bad but this is a guy who had (off hand) 8 seasons of 35+ hrs and a fairly high OPB (.360-400 ???). It’s hard for me to think that we’ll see more of 2011 production vs what we’ve become accustomed to. Even if he’s 75% of what he was prior to 2011 it’s still > than what you can expect from Soriano.

    • bmoneyy20 4 years ago

      if dunn became valuable again and soriano is still an 18 million dollar dh. dunns bat might come back sorianos legs are done

  9.  If the Cubs are to pick up nearly all of Zambrano’s contract, why not keep him. This trade makes no sense. Seems Theo is blowing money in Chicago, just like he did in Boston.

    • For one, with Zambrano you have to have an extra starter waiting around in case he decides to “retire” after a bad game.  Zambrano’s can be an overwhelming pitcher and can hit the ball a mile from time to time.  But I don’t want to watch another one of his “episodes” in Chicago. Who knows, maybe Volstad will end up having a season worth $15mil…

    • stewie75 4 years ago

      why don’t you type “carlos zambrano” into google and hit ENTER.

    • cubfan4life 4 years ago

      If you keep Zambrano and everything goes right all year then he becomes a free agent and leaves. For the same cost that they will be paying regardless they can bring in a guy who is just 25, has 3 yrs of team control left, and has made 29 or 30 starts each of the last 3 seasons.

      Yes his numbers arent great. But being just 25 he still has upside and when you look at taller pitchers in the past it has generally taken them a little longer than most to refine themselves mechanically enough to have a repeatable motion. With Volstad being 6’8″ maybe he falls into that mold.

      I dont think there is a clear winner on either side right now because you dont know if Zambrano will revert back to being an all star level pitcher or if he’ll go insane and bite the head off of Ozzie. But right now for what the Cubs are trying to accomplish 3 yrs of Volstad is much much better than one more of Zambrano

  10. I love the move….something had to happen.  Why can we not try Soriano at first base?  I know people will think this is crazy but I really would want to see it given a  shot.  Sure “scooping” a 95mph rocket from a SS or 3B is not easy but he cant do anything anywhere else in the field.  Oh and by the way, this is why no one should have a DH, what a waste on payrolls!

    • Khabibulan 4 years ago

      He wouldn’t make the move. Not enough opportunity to hop before catching a flyball at 1B.

  11. James DeMott 4 years ago

    Face facts, Chicago Cubs 2014 WS Champions

    • xcal1br 4 years ago

      I’m thinking playoffs in 2015 for a start, but you never know. The Central is looking weak after Cincinnati right now.

    • LOL! You guys have no depth chart! You would be better suited in competition with the A’s who have done nothing, but trade for low end prospects.

  12. Jim McGrath 4 years ago

    If I’m the Red Sox–I would take a flyer on Alfonso Soriano–as comp for Theo and pay nothing but perhaps a PTBNL or $3 M per yr. of his contract.
    Move Crawford to RF and bat AS someplace in the 5,6 or 7 slot–then use him as the DH when Ortiz leaves in 2013 or DH him when there is a tough lefty Ortiz has trouble with.

  13. You guys got ripped off big time in this trade. You had to eat up all Zambrano’s contract on top of trade for an aging pitcher who is 25. You guys should of at least got a top prospect. Way to lose out like you fans always do.

    • gocubs418 4 years ago

      You’re right…I forgot 25 was old for a SP…  You should be GM of the Cubs.

  14. Brandon Marcellis 4 years ago

    yeah but you have him for a couple more years after this as well, and no more problems for probably the same production on the mound at least

  15. This is why you don’t often hear GMs use the phrase “sunk costs”…

  16. Sosa_no_more 4 years ago

    You must not know much about team chemistry, economics or business.  On the team side, Zambrano was done in the Cubs clubhouse, and, yes, this does matter as twenty-four other guys, the coaches, management and most importantly the fans deserve better.  If you worked with a guy like this, would you want him around?

    On the financial side, Theo is absolutely correct as Zambrano being a sunk cost.  You are spending $18 million whether you release, have him stink up the clubhouse or trade him (well minus $2.5 million for the trade here).

    Thank you, Theo, for long overdue (since Dallas Green) leadership on behalf of Cubs fans.  This, in my mind, shows a commitment to no longer being the type of organization that lets Greg Maddux walk, keeps Sammy Sosa and tolerates unacceptable behavior.

  17. baseball52 4 years ago

    Cubs. I’ve just followed Tim since he was at Washington.

  18. jwsox 4 years ago

    You have to appreciate him being honest and open though.

  19. Guest 4 years ago

    I’m going to agree with much of this. To be honest, this is the first move that I’ve been impressed with by Epstein. I agree with him completely even though the entire cost will be absorbed in 2012. Spread out over three years and including Volstad’s remaining arb years, he’ll cost something like $5.5mm-$6mm per year. Considering the Cubs have very few young pitchers, I do this deal every day if offered! Even better for Epstein is that Volstad could hypothetically pitch a good season, increase in value and Theo could then flip him next offseason with two remaining years of control and get something better. Obviously this is the best case scenario, however considering all the faults with Zambrano there was no way the Cubs were going to receive compensation once his contract was up. No chance they offered him arb, even if he pitched well. I think Zambrano will pitch well this season in Miami. Oddly, I think both teams did really well with this deal and its kind of perfect for both teams.  

  20. For starters, Dempster has pitched better than Zambrano every year since he went back to starting in 2008. And that’s not just my opinion, look at the stats. He’s also stayed healthy and hasn’t run out of any stadiums during a game.

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