Ah, Big Z, always good for a quote. SI.com’s John Donovan got Carlos Zambrano talking yesterday and has an interesting column up.
Donovan describes a fan yelling "See you next year with the Yankees" to Zambrano, to which he pointed and smiled. Later asked about the Yankees, Zambrano said he didn’t see it because they have "too many rules." He seems to want to remain in the NL because of his love for hitting, and mentioned the Mets. Of course, for the right price, I’m sure the Yankees could lure him to the AL. Maybe they’d let him pinch-hit once in a while. Also, Paul Sullivan’s source said Zambrano wouldn’t mind playing for Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox after this year.
Zambrano’s next pact could approach a $16MM AAV. Donovan seems to believe he’d exceed seven years on the open market, though the Cubs and Zambrano are set at five seasons. It’s unclear whether those five seasons would include 2007.
Donovan writes that the Cubs and Zambrano are making progress on a deal for five years worth around $75-78MM. And last Sunday, BP’s John Perrotto said to look for Z to sign a deal in the $80-90MM range this week.
I think the Cubs will retain their ace; they’ve got about six days left to hammer it out. Jay Mariotti feels that a lack of a Zambrano contract would be a counterproductive distraction, yet that Zambrano would win a Cy Young. I see.