What Clubs Would Be Cookoo for Carlos Zambrano?

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By Soxman

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: soxmanonfield

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?

Jake Peavy’s Debut Offers Sox Taste of 2010

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By Soxman

Coming from a lower-middle working class family, I’m no stranger to having to wait in order to get something you really want. One October during my childhood, I remember feeling excitement as my mom took me to K-Mart and picked out a brand new bicycle.  Man it was loaded.  Mag rims, free wheel and made of alloy instead of metal, so it was very light.  I got it off the rack and was even able to take it for a spin- about fifty feet past the blue light special icon.  Then I was reminded how I wasn’t actually getting the bike now, we were putting it on layaway for next spring.  Dreams of cruising past my jealous friends and being the coolest kid on the block would have to wait until after winter came and thawed.

This is what Jake Peavy’s long awaited White Sox debut against the Kansas City Royals is like for me, and probably for most Sox fans.

As Peavy himself admits that he’s not 100%, and still pitching in a game that has about as much meaning as that 50-foot spin down the aisle in Kmart, I’m excited.  But like all Sox fans, is anyone really thrilled?  It would have much more meaning if we were in the thick of a pennant race, or at the very least if we were seeing the true Jake Peavy.

As the winds of fall have the Sox playoff candle trickling out, I question what Peavy’s debut really means at this point.  He could be awesome, he could get shelled.  Worse, he could get hurt…AGAIN.  If it does not get us anywhere, does it really matter?

I’m not the only one raising this question either.  If you read behind Ozzie Guillen’s interview on Friday, he might feel the same way.

“We’ve been waiting for him for seven months,” said Guillen.  “Hopefully, when I take this guy out or he takes himself out of the game, he’s healthy.  That’s what I want.”

So what should Sox fans take from his start?  Aside from getting a look at one of the anchors of the 2010 rotation, don’t expect much.  Barring a horrific injury or another Williams blockbuster trade, we already know our starting rotation for next year:

Mark Buehrle

Jake Peavy

John Danks

Gavin Floyd

Freddy Garcia

So as the former Cy-Young award winning pitcher, with a career ERA of 3.29, and all the tools to be called ace takes the mound for the first time, enjoy the test drive.  He’ll soon be put on layaway until the spring.  Only then will we truly get to enjoy the ride.