Tag:Carlos Zambrano
Posted on: February 21, 2011 2:03 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Dempster draws Opening Day start for Cubs

Dempster

It's not yet March, but manager Mike Quade of the Cubs already knows who is starting opening day: Ryan Dempster, as MLB.com reveals.

That's actually rather significant in Chicago, as Carlos Zambrano had started the previous six openers. Zambrano had previously said he wanted the start, but would go along with whatever was decided. Big Z had a complicated 2010 -- to say the least -- but did finish with an overall 3.33 ERA in 20 starts and 16 relief appearances, posting a 1.40 ERA in his final 11 starts.

But Dempster was in the rotation the entire season for the third straight year after converting back to being a starter. His 3.85 ERA in 215 1/3 innings is a high since converting, but Dempster was the clear choice

"There's some instinct here for me," Quade said. "I do pay attention to numbers, but you weigh it out and keep looking and it's him, him, him, and finally I said, 'this is the way we're going.'

"You think about Z's finish and Demp battling all year long and doing a good job," he added. "If there was something I lost sleep over, it was the two guys who have been with us and who gets the shot. I think I just thought we'd change it up a little. Z's done it. Let's see how it plays."

Part of Quade's decision was influenced by the ability to have Zambrano lined up to battle the Brewers during the April 8-10 series. The mercurial right-hander has long had success in Milwaukee's Miller Park, including tossing a no-hitter against the Astros in 2008 when weather conditions forced a move from Minute Maid Park to Miller Park.

The third spot in the rotation will be handled by Matt Garza, while the final two spots will be filled by Randy Wells, James Russell, Carlos Silva or Andrew Cashner. Garza's spot in the rotation will allow him to ease into his new surroundings by scouting the Pirates and Wrigley Field for two games before being asked to take the hill.

With the front three settled, pitching coach Mark Riggins can get moving on lining up the spring training rotation to accede to Quade's wishe.

"They're all going to need to pitch well," Quade said. "It's opening day and a big deal, but I looked at matchups going into Milwaukee, and so on and so forth. Riggs needs to know by [Tuesday], so what am I waiting for?"

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Silva confident in rotation spot

Carlos Silva
Well, there's one thing off Mike Quade's plate this spring. Carlos Silva has decided he's in the Cubs rotation.

"Yesterday, someone asked me, 'Are the fourth and fifth spots still open?'" Silva told reporters Tuesday. "For them, it's open. For whoever is competing, it's open. For me, there's only one spot open because I am one of the starters. They think like that, not me."

Silva can be commended for using the power of positive thinking, but it's not quite that simple. Behind the set trio of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Carlos Zambrano, there is a lot that could happen. Silva is in a mix with Randy Wells, Jeff Zamardzija, Casey Coleman and Andrew Cashner.

Silva, brought in last winter from Seattle in an exchange of bad contracts that sent out Milton Bradley, stunned everyone with a big start, going 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA in the first half of the season. The second half was derailed by a heart issue and an elbow problem.

Quade said nobody has earned anything yet, including Silva.

"His experience speaks for itself and his start last year was fantastic," Quade told MLB.com, "but there are a few guarantees in this game and I'm not sure the back end of this rotation has got anybody guaranteed anything. He does have the experience. I expect him to be a prominent consideration. We'll see."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: January 19, 2011 8:33 pm
 

Score one for Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano
Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has taken a pretty good beating in the media in recent years, so it's only fair to give equal time to the temperamental right-hander's good deeds. Here's one that goes solidly in Big Z's win column.

Zambrano and his wife, Ismary, are adopting an 18-month-old boy they met during a church relief trip to a Guatemalan orphanage. The Zambranos already have three daughters, and expect to add the boy to the family by opening day.

"We've been thinking about this for a long time," Zambrano told MLB.com. "It's a good thing for us. Our daughters are excited about this. We just want to keep this guy, this little kid. He's a blessing. ... We will make sure he feels blessed and he feels comfortable with the family."

Zambrano, 29, has been to Guatemala each of the past two seasons with a group related to his church, and last year started the Big Z Foundation to help underpriveleged children and families. A Venezuelan native, Zambrano said he was shocked by the conditions he found in Guatemala.

"Most people in America don't realize how bad it is," he said. "You can see poverty here, but it's not like that kind of poverty. ... If you don't get shocked by what you see there, it's because you don't have a heart. You put your face down and pray to God to help those people."

It's one thing to pray for them or write a check, but it's another to bring a needy child into your home. It's worth thinking about the next time you read something in the news questioning the man's character.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: January 12, 2011 3:13 pm
 

Cubs looking to fill rotation from within

James Russell Left-hander James Russell will compete for a spot in the Cubs' starting rotation, manager Mike Quade told the Chicago Tribune 's Paul Sullivan .

Russell was 1-1 with a 4.96 ERA in 57 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cubs as a rookie in 2010. He struck out 42 in 49 innings, while walking 11 and allowing 55 hits. He gave up 11 home runs, two for every nine innings pitched.

"I don't get too worked up early on, because, bang, all of a sudden you blink and things change," Quade said. "All of a sudden you've got two additions [in Matt Garza and Kerry Wood] who have specific roles and have earned them, and now it puts the kids and a lot of the other people in flux. The idea that you can never have enough pitching is huge. We'll see how the back end looks as it shakes out."

Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster are already pencilled in for the team's rotation, with Russell, Carlos Silva, Randy Wells, Andrew Cashner, Casey Coleman, Tom Gorzelanny and Jeff Samardzija battling for the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:07 pm
 

Where do Yankees go from here?

Zambrano Now that the Yankees have lost out on Cliff Lee, who could the club go after?

Well, for starters, the club has agreed to a minor-league contract with Mark Prior. Who knows, it could work out. But probably not.

Good thing there's always Andy Pettitte. The Yankees could up their offer to entice him out of retirement, but even with Pettitte, the Yankees are seeking a strong option for the rotation. Right now, it would be comprised of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and... who knows, maybe Sergio Mitre?

Carl Pavano is the only starter left on the market that fits the bill. Any other starter would fill in at the back of the rotation, while Pavano would make a strong case to be the No. 3. One problem: The Yankees and the fans have already had their fill of Pavano. However, New York did give Javier Vazquez a second try, so you never know.

Other options reside in trade. There's obviously Zack Greinke, but there are too many reports that New York doesn't have what it takes to acquire Greinke, plus there's far too many questions on whether Greinke would even want to pitch in New York, nevermind if he could.

Other trade options include the White Sox and Gavin Floyd as the club has been willing to listen on the righty. You can bet the ChiSox would also love to listen to deals involving Edwin Jackson as Jackson was only acquired in a desperate gambit to land Adam Dunn from Washington in what remains a curious decision from the Nats in passing. However, is Jackson better than what's left on the free agent market sans Pavano? Mmm... probably not.

The name of Ricky Nolasco is also making the rounds, but Florida has said it has no plans to move Nolasco even with the two sides struggling to agree to a contract extension.

Perhaps the Cubs could be enticed to part with Carlos Zambrano (pictured). It's no secret the two sides are tired of each other, but Big Z has a hefty contract and blew away the competition near the end of 2010, so would require a strong package in return. Still, the Yankees have the money and perhaps the will to pry Zambrano away.

Past that, the Yankees could come calling for Matt Garza or James Shields, although the Rays may not want to deal within the division. Jesus Montero may be enough to change their minds.

Another option New York has is to slot in with an average pitcher and wait until 2012 to make their move for a top starter.

Problem: Unless Philadelphia declines Roy Oswalt's 2012 option, the best starter on the market is C.J. Wilson. And granted, if Wilson repeats his 2010 season, he'll be an enticing name. But that should tell you all there is to know about 2012's free-agent market.

Except there's one very important person in the Pacific that will be posted and could make major waves.

That's Yu Darvish, who has opted to stay in Japan one more season but has essentially conceded he is headed east for 2012. The Yankees -- as well as any other team -- would love to get Darvish's services, and you can bet New York will be hot to trot after the righty.

But so will any number of teams such as Washington and the Angels, so Darvish to the Yankees isn't quite a sure thing. And no, simply expecting New York to outbid everyone in the posting process is not a sure thing. For one, the Red Sox blew the Yankees away for Daisuke Matsuzaka. And second, the Oakland A's not agreeing to terms with Hisashi Iwakuma in what some believe was a gambit to keep him away from the Rangers underscored a flaw in the posting system. That is, you can bid any amount for the player but do not have to pay the fee if no terms are agreed to.

What's stopping Boston from bidding an outrageous $100 million fee (double Matsuzaka's fee) and then just simply letting him walk away?

This much is clear: the Yankees have a lot on their hands to build their rotation now that the Cliff Lee saga has ended.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 8, 2010 12:57 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Cubs talking trades for starters

The Cubs are looking for pitching -- not only talking to the Rays about Matt Garza, but also talking about swapping left-handed starter Tom Gorzelanny for right-handed starter Armando Galarraga, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes .

The Cubs have Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano and Randy Wells at the top of their rotation. The team still has Carlos Silva under control, but his status remains murky, leaving a competition between Gorzelanny, Casey Coleman and Jeff Samardzija for the last two spots of the rotation.

The team has reportedly talked to representatives for Brandon Webb and Jeff Francis, as well.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: December 7, 2010 6:12 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 6:42 pm
 

Rangers listening to offers on Michael Young

Young The Rangers are listening to trade offers for Michael Young, although no deal is close as FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports.

Young, 34, has been an integral part of the Rangers for the last nine seasons, constantly banging out big hits while playing at second, short and most recently third. The problem is Young is getting no younger and is approaching -- if he hasn't already -- liability status with the glove.

(In fact, it wouldn't be the worst idea in the world if the Rangers went after Adrian Beltre and shoved Young to first base.)

Young has three years left on his deal with an average annual salary of $16 million, which is significant dollars to give to someone who is just solid with the bat, not otherworldly. He hit .284/.330/.444 in 2010, although that came after 2009's .322/.374/.518 total. Young is generally good for around 20 home runs and good batting average but has also benefited greatly from his home park.

While Texas would probably love to shed his contract for a young, cost-controlled player, it's hard to fathom any other club being interested. Young will likely be swapped for another player with an onerous contract who still provides value on the field.

Who are those players?

Carlos Zambrano from the Cubs springs to mind. Other than that... well, the rest have warts, such as Vernon Wells of the Jays and his heavily backloaded deal... Carlos Lee and his inability to play defense... Alfonso Soriano could return to his former club but where would he play?

There isn't much room here for a high-salary swap to be had. Zambrano seems to be the best bet, and the Cubs could move Aramis Ramirez to first base.

This is one trade that doesn't seem to have any shot of happening although Texas certainly wouldn't mind if it did to clear up cash for Cliff Lee.

UPDATE: Nolan Ryan did not deny the availability of Young, as Danny Knobler reports. Ryan also doesn't intend Young to shift to first base as the president loves Mitch Moreland.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 2:23 pm
 

The Cubs' expensive conundrum

Carlos Zambrano
They have a pitcher who went 8-0 in the second half of the 2010 season with a 1.58 ERA, numbers even an elite ace pitcher would kill for. And the Cubs are giving serious consideration to paying this three-time All-Star to pitch elsewhere next season.

Take the name off that scenario, and it seems unfathomable. But the name is Carlos Zambrano, which makes it not seem so crazy.

The Cubs are in a serious conundrum with their troubled but talented right-hander. Do they believe the Zambrano who returned from suspension with the rejuvenated fastball and decent attitude is the same guy who will show up in spring training? Or do they think he'll revert to the same old inconsistent problem child who has confounded them for years?

If they want to trade him, they'll never have a better chance -- some team that hasn't been burned by him time and again will look at those second-half numbers and decide to take a chance. They owe him almost $36 million for the next two years, and nobody's going to take him at full price, so they'd have to subsidize. Still, they'd get some money off the books and maybe a prospect or two.

On the other hand, the Cubs really need front-line starting pitching, especially after the departure of Ted Lilly. If they ship the 29-year-old out and he pitches like an ace, while the Cubs have paid him a fortune over the years and find themselves without an ace, that's going to be tough to swallow. Then again, if they keep him and he melts down and is just a financial albatross, they'll be kicking themselves for not unloading him while they had the chance.

In a strange way, Zambrano's big finish has put the Cubs in a tough spot.

-- David Andriesen

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