According to Steve Rosenbloom’s blog for the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs are looking into trading starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano during the off-season. Zambrano has been tired of all the criticism being thrown at him and has been quoted as saying,
“Maybe if I go to a different city next year, if I get traded, I can do what I want.”
More than likely, if the Cubs do find a team to trade Zambrano to, it would be a National League team, because Zambrano would have to waive his full no-trade clause and it is doubtful he would want to play in the American League since the DH rule would not allow him to hit. Zambrano is one of the best hitting pitchers in baseball, with a .236 career average to go along with 20 HR and 22 doubles in eight full seasons in the major leagues. The 20 career home runs make him the active leader for pitchers.
As for his pitching, he can be very Jekyll and Hyde-like. His career record is 104-67 and he has never had an ERA over 3.95 for any full season. However, when things don’t go right for Carlos, he can lose his control and I’m not just talking about balls and strikes.
To say the least, if things don’t go his way, it can be like trying to put out a fire with gasoline. He can be very volatile, confrontational and erratic. When he’s focused and on his game, he can be dominant (see last year’s no-hitter against Houston). When he doesn’t get a call from an umpire, he can be lit up in a hurry.
Another thing a possible suitor has to contend with is his salary. He is one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball and still has quite a few years left in his contract:
- 2010: $17.85 million
- 2011: $17.85 million
- 2012: $18 million
- 2013: $19.25 million vesting option (could be player option)
That’s quite a chunk of change to pay for a pitcher that can blow up at the drop of a hat. However, if the Cubs would be willing to pay part of his salary, it would make a deal for Zambrano more appealing to other teams.
The Mets clearly need pitching. Zambrano is only 28 and might be made available this off-season. Should the Mets make a play for him? Is the potential for a meltdown (or two) too much of a risk for the Mets to take? Do they even have enough to offer the Cubs, assuming they don’t have to pay his entire contract?
Personally, I’m not sure the Mets should make a deal for Big Z if he is shopped around. Although the potential is there for Zambrano, he has yet to hone his skills and get his anger management problems under control. The Mets should try to find a cheaper option that can allow them to have money left over for other players that can help the team. However, the free agent pitching class this year isn’t very strong. The best option to acquire a quality starter might be via the trade route.
What do the readers think? Should the Mets take a chance on Zambrano? Remember, this isn’t Victor Zambrano we’re talking about. This is the Zambrano that actually has talent. Would he fit in with this team? Would he even waive his no-trade clause to come to a city that might criticize him even more if he doesn’t do as expected? Take it away, readers. The podium is all yours.