The Cubs agreed to send Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins for Chris Volstad today. The Cubs take on nearly all of Zambrano’s salary, but in doing so they obtain Volstad, a valuable ground ball pitcher who has consistently made his starts since joining the Marlins’ rotation in 2008. He’s arbitration eligible this offseason and under team control through 2014. Before the trade, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein joined 720 WGN in Chicago for an extended interview. Here are some highlights:
- Epstein said Matt Garza is a “top of the rotation type” starter. In general, players like Garza can become long-term assets by signing extensions or becoming trade chips, Epstein said. David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com hears that the Cubs continue asking "for [the] moon" in trade talks about Garza (Twitter link).
- Rules limiting amateur spending in the new collective bargaining agreement won’t necessarily slow the Cubs down. "It just means we have to be better and more accurate with our drafting than the competition," Epstein said.
- Epstein said he'd be greatly disappointed if the Cubs don't re-sign Kerry Wood. Wood signed a below-market $1.5MM deal last offseason but is said to want a market value deal this winter.
- The Cubs expect to start Bryan LaHair at first base. The 29-year-old posted a .331/.405/.664 line with 38 home runs at Triple-A in 2011. He also posted an .885 OPS in 69 plate appearances with the big league club.
- Epstein addressed Zambrano, saying "change needs to happen and change will happen." Not long after the interview, the Cubs agreed to send the right-hander to Miami.
- Epstein explained that some disappointing players can recover from poor seasons to produce again. "It's a game played by human beings and the ability to bounce back is very real," Epstein said.
- The Cubs value Sean Marshall, but felt it made sense to trade him for players who can contribute beyond 2012 (Travis Wood and two prospects), especially since Marshall isn't likely to be tied to draft pick compensation next offseason.
- The Cubs are "very committed" to Carlos Marmol as their closer.
Just realized this…With Aramis leaving this year, and Wood currently a FA, Zambrano was the last remaining Cub who was on that 2003 NLCS team. Funny to think about…
Wood said he’ll either resign with the Cubs or retire. So he won’t sign with another team.
Triple Hawpes Brewed
wow it’s rare that a player just comes right out and says that he doesnt care about winning
Wood cares about the fans, not about winning. That’s why he left the Yankees last year for the Cubs in the first place. He loves this franchise.
To say that he doesnt care about winning is just idiotic. He cares about winning. I think you meant to say he doesn’t care about all the money. His family is here in Chicago and it’s not worth it for him to pitch for a year or 2 in another city.
He also turned down a lot more money from the White Sox last year, so this is not just about location. He’s the rare player who actually feels loyalty towards an organization and fanbase.
the rest of the cubs roster other than Castro and Dempster probably feel like they are on thin ice. Byrd is next to get dealt most likely..
Marmol might be safe too.
i think he is something they should try to trade for sure. i dont think his value is going to be this high the rest of his career. opposing teams have figured him out… don’t swing and you will make it to 1st base
Also glad to see they’ve got LaHair penciled in at first for this year. Perfect move for a rebuilding club. He could continue his new-found success and prove that last year was a break-out season, and the Cubs would suddenly have another big asset. Or he could regress to his old AAAA self, in which case it’s no skin off our nose in a lost season.
I agree. Expensive, veteran band aids must become extinct as the Cubs move forward.
The Zambrano trade reminds me of the John Rocker to Cleveland trade in 2001. One team feels they’re getting a plus performer on the cheap who just needs a change of scenery. The other feels that mediocrity was just one more stop on a never-ending spiral downward.
I think if you’ve been watching Chicago baseball the last three or so years, you can definitely see the logic in pawning off Zambrano for an ostensibly lesser, but far more predictable asset.
The Cubs are “very committed” to Carlos Marmol as their closer.
Well Cubs fans will be committed to the care of a Psychologist if that’s the case.
Orioles fans will be too, if Kevin Gregg winds up as our closer.
Between the Cubs, Astros, and Orioles it’s going to be a battle as to who stinks most or stinks less. Depending on your viewpoint. Rest assured with the current rosters, not one team of the bunch will be a threat to the rest of the division.
PS Can a team take a year Sabbatical to get themselves together?
Everyone of these teams are unwatchable!
nice deal for cubs atleast they got someone who can contribute in 12 other than so sorry prospect
i’d like to see marmol moved at the deadline, he’s bound to bounce back with the new regime, that had to have been a question they asked their potential pitching coaches, “hey, what would YOU do to help marmol???”
he can strike guys out like crazy when he’s on, if he can hold together in what’s bound to be limited save chances, he could bring back a good haul.
as for wood, just give him a 2 yeah $9M contract and call it a day, it’s not that difficult guys.
Seriously, there’d be no excuse for fumbling the ball with Wood over paying his market value. Especially considering the multi-million dollar discount he gave them last year (Not to mention the fact they’re paying Zambrano 15 mil to play for another team)
i thought it was more of a formality at first but as time goes on it makes you wonder.
i can’t see the cubs giving wood a multi year deal. Maybe something like 1 year $3.5M. With his arm and age you can’t go more than 1 year
kerry could have his choice of teams @ 2 years $9M, i’d say that’s pretty fair for both ends. although i guess this is the argument they’re having as well, given how long it’s taken to get him signed.
what im curious about is they are commited to marmol as their closer….i guess more blown saves are on the horizon
i know Theo said he likes LaHair, but don’t be surprised if Carlos Pena comes back. If not, he will be playing for the Cardinals or Brewers.
Speaking of the Cubs, what ever happened to the Epstein compensation? Did I miss it or has it just not happened yet?
The Red Sox have used all of that leverage their fans claimed they had to negotiate… well, Epstein said he wouldn’t poach any more staff for a few years after he took most of what he wanted. Beyond that, no, nothing has been agreed upon. I get the distinct impression the Cubs are stalling until Selig steps in, since he isn’t likely to give the Sox anything of significant value.
Epstein has done typical moves since he took over. He made the predictable moves of firing Quade and unloading Zambrano. He must smooth talk owners into thinking those young guys in the farm system is what really wins ball games in the big leagues. Why do people think this guy is any good? He does absolutely nothing that would be called bold or innovative.
The typical and predictable moves would have been to keep Quade for another year and cut Zambrano after saying he couldn’t find any takers. Instead he is trying to install a new culture in Chicago and has rid the Cubs of there biggest headache in Zambrano while saving close to $3M along with bringing in a SP candidate on a cheap contract.
We think Theo is good because he has won 2 WS titles while turning Boston into a power-house through adept drafting, player development, and a culture of winning.
I would call trading Marshall who has 1 year left on his contract for a young, LHP starter – Wood along with 2 minor league prospects bold. He is also trying to finally add balance to the Cubs lineup by actually giving his manager left-handed batters.
typical moves are an upgrade over the usual hendry moves to claw at a division title with a team that’d just lose in the division series. we’re trying to get some sustainability up in this ‘itch.
It will be sad to see the Cubs play some piece of crud at first base while Fielder goes to the stinking nats or some other crud team.