In a television interview yesterday, Carlos Zambrano drew a line in the sand. He’s leaving the Cubs if he doesn’t have a contract extension before the season begins. He even referred to himself in the third person. Zambrano expects to be compensated like Barry Zito.
A review of the Zito contract: seven years, $126MM guaranteed with a full no-trade clause. Zito’s deal also includes an eighth year option that could be reached based on innings pitched, as well as bonuses for winning the Cy Young. Zambrano is a full three years younger than Zito. And fair or not, pitching in the NL has kept his raw ERAs at 3.41 or less in each of his four full seasons. While that may not make Zambrano the better pitcher, he’ll get credit for it in his contract.
It’s not hard to picture Zambrano as a $20MM player on the open market, all things considered. And if he really wants to maximize his value he could take a three-year deal a la Rafael Furcal. Zambrano was formerly represented by Scott Boras but now employs Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro. Praver is best known for representing Sidney Ponson.