Carlos Zambrano Rumors
Today the Cubs introduced two of the top assistants for president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. They named Jed Hoyer their executive VP and general manager and Jason McLeod their senior VP of scouting and player development. Here's the latest from this afternoon's press conference:
- Though Epstein didn’t rule anything out, he said free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez will probably not return to Chicago. “Likely he'll be moving on," Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links).
- Epstein says he had an enlightening conversation with Carlos Zambrano’s agent and is looking forward to speaking to the right-hander himself, according to Wittenmyer.
- The Cubs expect to reach a decision on manager Mike Quade’s future within a week, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (Twitter links).
- MLB may give the Cubs and Red Sox an extension to determine appropriate compensation for Epstein, Boston’s former GM, according to Muskat.
- Hoyer stressed the importance of building from within today, according to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). "Relying on external solutions to building a winning baseball team is a bad idea, and it's something we need to get past," the GM said.
The Marlins are considering making a serious run at Rays right-hander James Shields, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. The two sides have some natural match-up on a trade because the Marlins could dangle Logan Morrison as part of a package for the right-hander.
Shields drew interest from a number of clubs at the deadline including the Tigers and Reds but the Rays opted to hang on to him instead. Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says that he would like to maintain the team's pitching depth, but Shields would be a huge trading chip this winter.
Meanwhile, Olney writes that in spite of the speculation about Carlos Zambrano joining up with Ozzie Guillen in Florida, there isn't a lot of momentum behind this within the Marlins organization. The club's opposition to the move has more to do with the way Zambrano's stuff has regressed than his personality history.
At least one division series per league is going to a full five games this year, with the first elimination game taking place in the Bronx tomorrow night. Here are some links to read in the meantime...
- A's GM Billy Beane and MLB.com's Peter Gammons reflect on the decision Beane made in 2002, when he nearly joined the Red Sox before realizing he wanted to remain in Oakland. Gammons compares Beane to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who is at a similar career crossroads now that Boston missed the playoffs and the Cubs are interested in him as their next GM.
- The Angels are also looking for a new general manager and former GM Jim Bowden compiles a list of candidates at ESPN.com. Kim Ng of MLB, Jason McLeod of the Padres and Bill Geivett of the Rockies are among the names on Bowden's list (MLBTR's list of GM Candidates offers some more candidates to consider).
- Though the Rangers wanted Cliff Lee last offseason, they have many reasons to celebrate the near-miss, Jon Paul Morosi writes at FOX Sports. Texas signed Adrian Beltre, whose three-homer game sent them back to the ALCS, instead.
- Jim Margalus of South Side Sox looks back at Mark Buehrle's last contract and determines that it was a good one for the White Sox because the left-hander didn't really age.
- Carlos Zambrano knows his future with the Cubs is undetermined until they hire a GM, but he says he is talking with new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on a near-daily basis, according to Ormúz Jesús Sojo of Líder en Deportes (translation via MLBTR's Nick Collias).
- Check out Rumores de Béisbol for all of the latest rumors in Spanish.
Some links pertaining to baseball's Eastern divisions for your Sunday evening reading:
- Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun wonders if the reason we've yet to hear anything regarding Thursday's summit involving Orioles owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is because Angelos has convinced MacPhail to stay with the club in an advisory capacity. MacPhail will give up his current title, but Schmuck believes Angelos would give him any title he desired short of co-owner to keep him around.
- Steve Melewski of MASNsports believes Buck Showalter should remain the manager of the Orioles, not take over the position of GM. That said however, Showalter needs to work closely with the new GM to honestly evaluate the organization on all levels to turn the franchise around.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon endorses his bench coach Davey Martinez wholeheartedly for the White Sox managerial opening, and told Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune that he'd "do somersaults" if Martinez got the job, despite how difficult he'd be to replace.
- It's probably implied by the five-year deal he's seeking, but Jimmy Rollins won't be offering the Phillies a hometown discount, according to this MLB.com report from Todd Zolecki, Brian McTaggart, and Nate Mink.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times writes that Cliff Lee is one of the most popular athletes in recent Philadelphia history, and spoke with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and the $120MM man himself about his decision to return to the Phillies last offseason.
- The Miami Sun Sentinel's Juan C. Rodriguez questions whether pitching for Ozzie Guillen and the Marlins and getting away from Chicago would make Carlos Zambrano a better citizen. While Zambrano could change in Miami, Rodriguez points out his declining K/9 and increasing WHIP as red flags that need to be considered along with his character.
Ozzie Guillen and Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano recently spoke on the phone and discussed the possibility of the hurler joining the Marlins, according to Ignacio Serrano of El Nacional (Spanish link). Serrano spoke with Félix Luzón, a friend of Zambrano's who was present during the call.
Luzón says that nothing is official but a deal could be reached where the Cubs cut the 30-year-old loose and give him the $18MM that he is owed in deferred payments. Cubs manager Mike Quade recently said that he would ideally like to have Zambrano back in 2012, but didn't sound optimistic about it happening.
Translation of the article was provided by Nick Collias.
The Cubs have designated right-handers Justin Berg and Brian Schlitter for assignment, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. In a corresponding move, Carlos Zambrano has been placed back on the club's 40-man roster.
Zambrano was placed on the disqualified list on August 13 following a tirade following a rough start against the Braves and then shut down for the season after that 30-day suspension was up. The MLBPA has a pending grievance on Zambrano's behalf looking to recoup some of the approximately $3MM in salary that Zambrano lost, since players aren't paid for their time on the disqualified list. Zambrano is owed $18MM in 2012 and, as MLBTR's Tim Dierkes explored in August, the Cubs would probably have to absorb another bad contract if they wanted to trade the hurler.
Berg, 27, has made 60 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cubs over the last three seasons, compiling a 4.08 ERA in 64 innings and an even 27 strikeouts to 27 walks.
Schlitter, 25, was drafted by the Phillies in 2007 and came to Chicago in the Scott Eyre deal in August 2008. He has eight Major League innings under his belt, all in 2010, and has a career ERA of 12.38. Schlitter had been on the 60-day disabled list with an elbow injury that kept him in the Cubs organization through the 2011 season. He was picked up on waivers by both the Yankees and Phillies last winter before being returned to Chicago because Major League Baseball judged his elbow to be a pre-existing injury.
ESPN's Wayne Drehs has the story of Pat Looney, the man who almost became a scapegoat for Cubs fans in 2003 instead of Steve Bartman. ESPN's Bartman film airs tonight at 7pm central time. The latest on the Cubs:
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is unlikely to leave Boston for the Cubs post after a "moment of epic failure," in the opinion of Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- There's a good chance Carlos Zambrano joins Ozzie Guillen in Miami, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Cubs sources expect the team to reconcile with Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg before next season, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Sandberg managed the Phillies' Triple-A club this year but is said to be open to managing the Cubs with Jim Hendry out of the picture.
- Brewers' third baseman Casey McGehee told the Sun-Times he can relate to Bryan LaHair having to shake off the 4-A label. The 28-year-old LaHair hit .331/.405/.664 with 38 home runs in 523 Triple-A plate appearances this year.
The Cubs project for the seventh overall pick in next year's draft, though it's a tight race. The latest on the club:
- Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez said yesterday that he'd probably played his last game as a Cub, noting that he's ready to move on and expects to hit the open market. Today, Ramirez told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he doesn't think interim GM Randy Bush has the power to sign a big free agent, therefore nothing will come of today's meeting between Bush and his agent Paul Kinzer. Ramirez still prefers to stay with the Cubs, but he doesn't want to be part of a rebuilding process. If he hits the market, he'll easily be the best third baseman available.
- Kinzer also represents Starlin Castro, Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol, and John Grabow, notes MLB.com's Carrie Muskat, so today's meeting probably won't just be about Ramirez.
- Manager Mike Quade answered a question about Carlos Zambrano from Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald, saying, "I'd like his arm back if he fit into the mix. But it would be tough for him to come back, for me." The Zambrano situation will be a tough assignment for the new GM.
- Quade expects to be back next year, he told Sullivan and other reporters.
- Longtime Cubs adviser Gary Hughes resigned yesterday, and ESPN's Buster Olney thinks he could land with the Marlins.
Carlos Zambrano will get another paycheck this year, but he won’t pitch another inning. The Cubs announced that the 30-year-old right-hander will remain at home for the remainder of the 2011 season. Once his 30-day suspension ends on September 11th, the Cubs will continue paying him.
Zambrano would not have enough time to prepare for games once his suspension ends, according to the Cubs. MLB, the Cubs and the MLB Players Association will process the grievance that the union filed on Zambrano’s behalf during the offseason.
The MLBPA filed a grievance for Zambrano after the Cubs placed him on the disqualified list following an August outburst. Zambrano could lose as much as one sixth of his $17.875MM salary this year if the Cubs' decision stands, since players don't get paid on the disqualified list. He is under contract for $18MM next year and his contract includes a $19.25MM vesting player option for 2013.
Zambrano finishes the season with a 4.82 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 42.4% ground ball rate in 145 2/3 innings - pedestrian enough numbers that the Cubs will be absorbing most of Zambrano's salary in any offseason trade.
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm
- Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- Dontrelle Willis, Reds - Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs - Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list. He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
- Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs - Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
- Chris Capuano, Mets - Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
- Bronson Arroyo, Reds - His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th. $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest. The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however. At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
- Bruce Chen, Royals - Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
- Jason Vargas, Mariners - Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window. But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013. He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.
- Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals - His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals - Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
- Ted Lilly, Dodgers - He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball. With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.
- Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Chad Qualls, Padres - Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
- Bill Bray, Reds - Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties. He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
- Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers - A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
- Huston Street, Rockies - Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
- Brian Fuentes, Athletics - He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
- Jon Rauch, Blue Jays - Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
- Mike Gonzalez, Orioles - Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties. The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
- John Grabow, Cubs - He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
- D.J. Carrasco, Mets - The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December - their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April. He stayed there until mid-June.
- Aramis Ramirez, Cubs - In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart. The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cubs - This one was also obvious. SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals - Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency. Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
- Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
- David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
- Conor Jackson, Athletics - Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
- David DeJesus, Athletics - DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
- Hideki Matsui, Athletics - The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
- Jason Bay, Mets - With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected. It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
- Willie Harris, Mets - The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
- Angel Pagan, Mets - It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
- Carlos Lee, Astros - No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year. El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
- Johnny Damon, Rays - Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.