During a visit to Wrigley Field for today’s Pirates/Cubs game, veteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano told reporters (including MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat) that he has retired. He had been pitching in his native Venezuela last winter in the hopes of catching on with another Major League club, but it appears as though Zambrano has instead called it a career.
The “Big Z” retires with a 132-91 record, 3.66 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 38.2 rWAR over 1959 innings in the bigs, with 11 of his 12 seasons spent with the Cubs and his final year (2012) spent with the Marlins. (Zambrano also made four starts in the Phillies’ minor league system in 2013.) He threw a no-hitter against the Astros in 2008 and his career achievements include three top-five finishes in NL Cy Young Award voting, three All-Star appearances and three Silver Slugger Awards. That last honor was particularly well-deserved since Zambrano was one of the better-hitting pitchers in recent memory, posting a .238/.248/.388 slash line and 24 homers over 744 PA.
While slightly leaving the door open for a possible comeback attempt, Zambrano’s recent attempts at throwing didn’t work out. “I was telling one of the [Cubs] scouts that I was playing catch the other day after five months, and I felt like I was throwing a rock,” Zambrano said. “I think I’m going to stay home, see what happens next year. God has the last word.”
Zambrano, 33, was no stranger to controversy over his career, known for several confrontations with umpires and twice getting into dugout altercations with teammates (Michael Barrett and Derrek Lee). The Cubs put him on the restricted list in August 2011, effectively ending his career in Chicago.
According to Baseball Reference, Zambrano made just under $114MM over his career. We at MLBTR wish Zambrano a happy time in retirement.