As there is absolutely nothing else to talk about on either the North or South side of Chicago in terms of baseball this year, the focus of Chicago media has turned to “playa hatin” and speculation over off-season moves.
Aside from the phrase Alex Rios=bust being a popular topic of discussion, and the suspension of Milton Bradley for the season, there’s really only major topic of discussion- the Cubs shopping Big Z, Carlos Zambrano in the off-season. It’s been a popular topic to twitter or tweet, or whatever else it is the kids are doing nowadays.
First, I know this may sound insane or even comical, but I like Carlos Zambrano. That’s right, I admit it. His passion and insanity, his assault on a harmless Gatorade container, his admission that his abdominals will not get him an Abecrombie endorsement any time soon, his desire to be Babe Ruth. Would I want him on my team? Maybe.
While his strikeouts are way down, his ERA has remained consistent the last two seasons. He also has a career ERA of 3.52 and is still under 30 years of age. With a no-hitter on his resume, there is some semblance of appeal. Sure there’s also a lot not to like, the laziness, the inconsistency from one outing to the next, and a contract that’s bulkier than his ever growing waistline.
On a team full of head cases, bloated contracts and underachievers, Carlos has become lost. While his attitude is in need of adjustment, remember what a surprise he was in 2004? Or how in 2005, he filled the shoes of both Prior and Wood while they battled injuries much of the year (and their entire Cubs careers for that matter), to emerge as the Cubs ace?
Allegedly, Big Z would only accept a trade to the White Sox, Red Sox, or the Dodgers. Let’s start there, but remember that trade scenarios are pure speculation.
Carlos Zambrano to the White Sox
The key here is that the Cubs are looking to trim payroll, Big Z has said on numerous occasions that he’d love to play for fellow Venezuelan, Ozzie Guillen. What would it take to get this deal done?
If I were a Cubs fan:
Jake Peavy would be my hope. Peavy could waive his no trade clause as the move would not uproot his family, and the Cubs were originally one of the teams on his wish list.
As a Sox fan:
A Carlos Zambrano for Alex Rios, Gavin Floyd and cash would make sense. We get rid of a bad contract and free up enough salary to sign Chone Figgins. The Cubs would officially have the most overpaid outfield in all of baseball. The Sox 2010 rotation would be Jake Peavy, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano, John Danks, and Freddy Garcia. Having a rotation that consists of a Cy Young award winner, one perfect game hurler and two men with no hitters would be fine by me. Realistically, there is not a fit between these two teams.
Both the Dodgers and Red Sox are no fun to speculate over because they have such great payroll flexibility- making anything possible.If Big Z were traded to either team, I’d be looking for youth in return and salary relief. These are two things that both clubs could offer.
Other teams you can never rule out:
-The New York Mets have indicated they will be going after another consistent pitcher in the off-season.
-The Minnesota Twins who need an ace and could be looking to make a big splash in their new stadium in 2010. Go ahead Twins fans, rip me a new one on how this would be a salary impossibility.
-The New York Yankees. Because they are like the Star Trek Borg. Resistance is futile.
-The Los Angeles Angels. They could lose Vladimir Guerrero’s contract this off season. Could Ervin Santana and Brandon Wood bring the Angels a solid 2010 rotation of Zambrano, Lackey (pending FA), Kazmir and Weaver?
Ok baseball fans, if not the Cubs, or a heavy workload of anger management classes, where would Big Z have the best fit?