Tag:Carlos Zambrano
Posted on: September 14, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Poll: Pierzynski 'meanest' MLB player

By Matt Snyder

In a poll of 215 major-league players conducted by Sports Illustrated, White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was voted as the "meanest" player in baseball, taking home 29 percent of the vote. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (13 percent), now-jobless Milton Bradley (11 percent), soon-to-be-jobless Carlos Zambrano (five percent) and Dodgers reliever Vicente Padilla (four percent) were the other names that most frequently came up in the poll.

From the SI press release, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the following about Pierzynski: “If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.”

I can't say it's surprising that Pierzynski isn't well liked by his peers. That's been common knowledge for a while ... but, "meanest?" Really?

Isn't this the sign we're getting a little too sensitive as a society? Maybe biggest jerk or most annoying would sound better and yield similar results -- maybe even "biggest antagonist?" -- but "meanest" just has this connotation like we're some child cowering in the corner because classmate isn't very nice and we can't take it. So we'll run home to Mommy and Daddy and tell them about the mean guy. I would hope that if some player specifically said "A.J. is so mean!" that our collective response would be to man up and quit whining. But hey, to each his own.

Now, to be fair, we can't blame the players for answering. They were simply asked a question and answered it. And to be fair to SI, I'm probably overreacting to its attempt to come up with an MLB equivalent to "dirtiest player," which they ask in other sports.

I will say I was quite surprised that Pierzynski beat out the likes of Zambrano and Bradley here, but I'm no player. I guess they'd know better who is "mean."

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 9:46 am
 

Pepper: Writing on wall for Guillen



By Matt Snyder


Is there any question this is Ozzie Guillen's last season as the White Sox manager? I'd say no.

The latest report is that Guillen emailed White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf two weeks ago and texted general manager Kenny Williams Tuesday morning. He received replies from neither (Chicago Sun-Times). Granted, I've never been a major-league manager (I'm willing to give it a shot, if any GMs are interested), but I'm gonna go ahead and guess that being ignored when trying to correspond with your bosses is a pretty bad sign.

Remember, in recent weeks Guillen said he wanted to stay in Chicago, but not without a contract extension. And there was a report that indicated the relationship between Guillen and Williams had been irreparably damaged.

Guillen said he's ready for anything.

‘‘My family is ready for everything,’’ he said Tuesday (Chicago Sun-Times). ‘‘It’s like when a hurricane is coming and they say, ‘Hey, it’s Venezuela now, and it’s going to be in Miami in seven days.’ We pack everything, we have everything set up, for good or for bad.’’

The two cities he used in his example aren't just gathered at random. Venezuela is his home country. He also owns a home in Miami, but ... what else is there? Why, the Marlins, of course. A team Guillen helped coach to the 2003 World Series championship before being hired by the White Sox as manager. It's also a ballclub that is said to covet Guillen and is looking for a new manager this offseason before moving into a nice, new home.

It makes too much sense, doesn't it?

Tempers (kind of) flare in L.A.: So Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo threw an errant (and it appeared accidental) pitch near the head of Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra. And then Parra hit a home run and took his sweet old time starting his home run trot. And then Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said a few words as Parra crossed the plate -- he looked more annoyed than angry, for whatever it's worth. A few Dodgers and Parra yelled back and forth while it appeared D-Backs manager Kirk Gibson said a few things, too, but then benches were warned and nothing else happened. I have to say, I'm with Ellis on this. I was watching live and sitting here thinking that it's just lame. Enough with the posturing. Play baseball.

Exit strategy? Potential new Astros owner Jim Crane has yet to be approved, even though it should have happened back in August. The approval process has been continually delayed and there are two separate camps of reports as to what the holdup is. One side says that Crane needs to accept a move to the American League West -- which would clear the way for season-long interleague play and likely an additional playoff team -- and the other says that this is not the specific holdup. Biz of Baseball wonders if Crane is just seeking a way out without being turned away by the MLB due to character concerns that have been raised during the approval process. In other words, if he backs out and uses not wanting to move to the AL as his reason, he was never turned down and saves face.

Braun accountable, even in victory: "Tonight was not a pretty game ... We didn't play well ... I think I probably played my worst 10 innings of baseball of the year ... I don't think we really deserved to win ... we really didn't play a good basball game." Those quotes are all cherry-picked from Ryan Braun's post-game comments (Brewers Blog). Oh, by the way, Braun hit a walk-off home run to win the game in the 11th. And in the parts of the above quotes I removed, Braun was saying to give all the credit to the pitching staff for keeping them in the game (the final score was 2-1). We're big fans of accountability here, so major points to Braun for not forgetting the rest of the game just because the team pulled out a victory. He could have easily only focused on being the hero in the 11th, instead he owned up to playing poorly for most of the night and instead wanted the pitchers to be viewed as the heroes of the game. That's an MVP teammate. While we're here, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller has a great feature on the Brewers. Check it out.

Great day for stat-heads: SeamHeads.com has now finished work on a Negro League database, so you can search for stats from players like Oscar Charleston, who by many accounts was one of the best players to ever play the game -- he just never had a chance to do so on the big stage due to unfortunate bigotry.

Mauer understands backlash: Joe Mauer has made quite a few commercials in the past few years and he has received some criticism over them during this season -- easily the worst of his career. He said that he understands this and he's not going to take on any more commercials for the time being (StarTribune.com).

Some "Moneyball" reviews: Here's a glowing review of the upcoming movie ... and here's a not-so-great review (he does say it's entertaining, just questions the direction taken). While I greatly respect the work of both writers, I don't really care what anyone says. I'm seeing it. If I don't like it, that's on me. 

St. Louis North? The Chicago Sun-Times floats a rumor that has the Cubs landing Reds' general manager Walt Jocketty -- who used to be the Cardinals' GM -- and then bringing Tony La Russa to manage the Cubs ... and then signing free-agent-to-be Albert Pujols. Of course, the report only said "could" and mentioned it was a scenario floated only on the Cubs' end, not mentioning whether or not all three parties would be interested in this. I personally think I have a better shot at winning the lottery than this happening.

No surgery for Dickey: Mets starting pitcher R.J. Dickey has suffered from a partially torn plantar fascia most of the season, but it has subsided enough that he won't need surgery this offseason. (MLB.com)

Happy Anniversary: On this day 25 years ago, Bo Jackson launched his first career home run ... all 475 feet of it. Also, Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg made his major-league debut 81 years ago and on this day in 2008, Carlos Zambrano threw his only career no-hitter. If you'll recall, it was a game in Milwaukee against the Houston Astros, as a hurricane moved the series. (Hardball Times)

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Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:20 am
 

Zambrano won't return to Cubs in 2011

ZambranoBy Evan Brunell

The Cubs announced that Carlos Zambrano will not return to the Cubs this season due to a lack of time to prepare.

Zambrano was suspended by the team after being ejected from a start and announcing his (since reversed) retirement. That suspension expires on Sept. 11, at which point Chicago will resume paying the right-hander. The players' associated filed a grievance on behalf of Zambrano to recoup his salary, but that process is not yet resolved and will not be until the offseason.

Zambrano would have had to build back up his arm strength, plus likely go on a rehab assignment before rejoining the Cubs. With the minor-league season ending, the availability of rehab starts wasn't there, plus it doesn't hurt that the Cubs want to keep him away from the team at all costs. He is expected to be traded to released after the season, with one year and $18.5 million remaining on the contract.

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Posted on: August 23, 2011 5:29 pm
 

On Deck: Giants hope for home cooking

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Home, sweet home: San Francisco returns to AT&T Park after a 4-6 road trip, but find themselves treading water against a struggling Arizona squad that has lost six games in a row. After losing their last four series, the Giants open a 12-game home stand with San Diego for two games before Houston and Chicago come to town, setting up a big three-game set with division-leading Arizona. The Giants play 21 of their final 34 games at home, where they have the fourth-best winning percentage (.583) among National League teams. San Diego is 11 games under .500, but has won 12 of its last 18 games. The two-game series against San Diego is the start of a run of interdivisional games for the Giants, who play NL West teams 27 times in their final 34 and are done with non-NL West teams after this homestand. Padres at Giants, 10:15 p.m. ET

Hanging on: Two second place teams, the White Sox and Angels, start a quick two-game series at Angel Stadium. The series won't make or break either team, but both hope to keep pace in their divisional races. The White Sox are tied for second with Indians, 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central, while the Angels are 4 1/2 game behind the Rangers in the AL West. Both pitchers -- Chicago's Mark Buehrle and Los Angeles' Ervin Santana -- had winning streaks snapped in their last outting. Buehrle hadn't lost since June 16 and had a snap of 18 starts of allowing three runs or fewer by giving up four runs in a loss to Cleveland. Santana allowed four runs (three earned) in a loss to the Rangers last Wednesday, pitching into the eighth inning. Still, Santana has gone 6-3 with a 1.87 ERA over his last 12 starts, while Buehrle is 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA over his last 12 starts. White Sox at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

Youth movement: In his last start, Braves left-hander Mike Minor didn't give up a run in six innings of work, striking out nine batters and walking one (intentionally), allowing just four hits. Since entering the rotation in the place of Tommy Hanson, Minor's gone 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts, showing why the Braves think so highly of the 23-year-old former first-round pick. Cubs right-hander Casey Coleman has been less successful in replacing Carlos Zambrano in the Chicago rotation. In his first start in place of Zambrano, Coleman allowed 10 hits and four runs in 3 2/3 innings in a loss to Houston. He's 2-5 overall with a 7.43 ERA, but his ERA is lowered a bit to 7.05 as a starter. Braves at Cubs, 8:05 p.m ET

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Posted on: August 19, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Big contracts defined Hendry's reign

Alfonso SorianoBy C. Trent Rosecrans

During Tom Ricketts' press conference announcing the firing of general manager Jim Hendry, the Cubs owner made it a point that the next general manager would have to focus on "player development," which means (relatively) cheap draft picks and young players under team control instead of quick-fix, big contracts.

The latter are the types of moves that Hendry's tenure in Chicago will be remembered for, and here's the four that he will be remembered for:

1. Alfonso Soriano, eight years, $136 million: After the Cubs went 66-96 in 2006, Hendry made a splash in the offseason giving Alfonso Soriano a long-term deal. But like the fat kid doing the belly flop, the splash was just an opportunity to point and laugh. Soriano is a natural designated hitter, which is a problem in the National League. Soriano is in his fifth year with the Cubs and has hit 126 homers in that time, but coming off a 46-home run season in 2006, he's not hit more than 33 in any year with the Cubs, despite playing in homer-friendly Wrigley Field. As a Cub, he's hit .267/.320/.499 and become a favorite whipping boy for Cub fans who have no shortage of players to complain about. He's also due to make $19 million each of the next three seasons and will be 38 in his final season in Chicago.

2. Carlos Zambrano, five years, $91.5 million: The Zambrano contract is the albatross that just keeps on giving, isn't it? Currently on the disqualified list, the Cubs may get $3 million back from Zambrano's lost income during the 30 days he's on the list, but that also puts it into perspective that the Cubs are paying him $3 million a month. When Zambrano signed in Aug. of 2007, he was 26 and coming off a 16-7 season with a 3.41 ERA. However, that was 2006. In 2007 he was 14-9 with a 3.86 ERA on the season and was less than two months removed from a fight in the dugout with his catcher and had just weeks prior blasted Cubs fans. You can't say there weren't warning signs that a five-year deal may not have been the best idea.

3. Milton Bradley, three years, $30 million: If Zambrano's temper wasn't evident enough, there was no doubt that Bradley was a time bomb that wouldn't last three years in a Cubs uniform. The supremely talented outfielder had never spent three full seasons anywhere when Hendry handed him a three-year deal. Hendry gave Bradley the deal on the strength of an American League-best .999 OPS, but he had played in just 126 games and hit 22 homers at Rangers Park, a hitter's paradise. He hit just .257/.378/.397 in 124 games for the Cubs in 2009 and lived up to not only his reputation, but the standards of clubhouse buffoonery set by another Cub to play right field and wear No. 21, Sammy Sosa. In June of 2009, Bradley threw a temper-tantrum in a game against the White Sox and manager Lou Piniella told him to just go home. The Cubs suspended him for the rest of the season late in September after Bradley blasted the Cubs organization. He was traded to Seattle for another horrible contract (Carlos Silva) after the season.

4. Kosuke Fukudome, four years, $48 million: Searching for the next Ichiro, Hendry instead got the next Kaz Matsui. Fukudome got off to a hot start with the Cubs in 2008, but quickly faded. He never became much more than a decent player, if that. In three-plus years with the Cubs, he hit .262/.369/.403 with 37 homers before being traded to the Indians at the trade deadline for two minor-leaguers.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 8:22 pm
 

MLBPA officially files grievance for Zambrano

ZambranoBy Evan Brunell

The players association has filed a grievance on behalf of Carlos Zambrano, alleging that the club overstepped by placing the starting pitcher on the disqualified list, which prevents him from being with the team for 30 unpaid days.

A spokesman from the MLBPA told MLB.com that there is no timetable regarding the process. The next step is for both sides to meet to try to hammer out a settlement. If none can be reached, there would be a hearing before an arbitrator to determine the outcome.

This whole saga began last Friday when he allowed five home runs to the Braves, then threw at Chipper Jones twice before being ejected from the game. At that point, he cleaned out his locker and said he was retiring, causing the Cubs to place Zambrano on the disqualified list. While Big Z eventually returned his belongings to his locker, the damage was done and Zambrano seems to have fallen completely out of favor, with teammates and GM Jim Hendry indicating that enough is enough for the mercurial right-hander, who has been part of spat after spat over the last several seasons.

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Posted on: August 18, 2011 10:06 am
 

Pepper: Down to two races?



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With just more than a month to go, we're down to just two races in baseball -- the National League West and the American League Central.

The rest? Done. Decided.

The National League East? The Phillies lead the Braves by 8 1/2 games. Done.

The National League Central? The Brewers are up on the Cardinals by seven, winning 19 of their last 21 and watching as the Cardinals take another September siesta. Done.

The National League wild card? It's the Braves to not just lose, but to give away in spectacular Cubian fashion. That's not happening. Done.

The American League East? Boston trails by a half-game, so the division is up in the air, but with Boston leading the Wild Card by eight games, both teams are playing in October, all that's left is figuring out seeding, the important stuff? Done.

The American League West? Texas has won its last six, including the last three in Anaheim against the Angels. Done.

At least we have the NL West and the AL Central -- those will at least be interesting for a while.

Looking back at last year at the same time, the Braves led the Phillies in the NL East, but both ended up in the playoffs. In the AL East, The Yankees and Rays were deadlocked atop the division, but again, both went to the playoffs. Sound familiar?

Minnesota had a four-game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central, a lead they'd hold, while the Rangers were running away from the Angels with an eight-game lead. Deja vu.

As for the NL Central? Cincinnati was leading the Cardinals by just two games, but St. Louis would fade down the stretch. And in the NL West, the Giants trailed the surprising Padres by five games.

Basically, it looks like we've seen this all before. But you know what? It was pretty fun to watch last year and it will be again this year.

Brewers confident: After Tuesday's win, Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan said the team has to "try to catch Philly," according to the Associated Press. "That's our goal, since we have nobody to really chase in our division, let's go chase Philly." After Wednesday's win, Zack Greinke said, "It's definitely not locked up now, but it's on us mainly," according to the Journal Sentinel. And he added, "it is ours to lose." It is indeed.

Giants' road to repeat: The Giants have the easiest remaining schedule among contenders, Yahoo's Jeff Passan writes as he breaks down the remaining schedules for the contenders (and the Cardinals, Rays and Angels). Passan also gives the Brewers more reason to be confident -- the third-easiest remaining schedule, plus the most off days and more home games than road games remaining. As for the AL Central, the Tigers have the best remaining schedule among the contenders. And not only are the Rays well behind both the Red Sox and Yankees in both the division and the wild card, they also have the toughest remaining schedule -- 10 against Boston, six against New York, six against Texas and four against Detroit.

Some people are just jerks: And online, they all have a voice. Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has proof -- sharing the emails he's gotten from people against the proposed statue of Shannon Stone and his son.

Logic may prevail: Although there were reports this weekend that Cubs general manager Jim Hendry's job was safe, but Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman says that's not so certain. What you can blow $251.5 million on Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley, Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome and have to worry about your job? Say it ain't so.

Five tool players: Every year I look forward to Baseball America's Tools issue -- and I got it in the mail yesterday. It's fascinating reading and also allows you to geek out about minor league players and what they could become. Over at FanGraphs, they feel the same way, but Carson Cistulli decided to find out which big leaguers have displayed five tools through the "nerdiest possible" numbers. It's great stuff. And if you didn't know, Chase Utley, Troy Tulowitzki and David Wright are good.

Speaking of tools: Former Reds and Nationals GM Jim Bowden never saw a tools-y player he didn't like. He has five players you should give up on -- starting with the Pirates' Pedro Alvarez. [ESPN.com]

CC's history lesson: Yankees starter CC Sabathia spent Tuesday morning at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, saying he drew inspiration from the visit for his start on Thursday in Minnesota. If you're ever in Kansas City, make sure you make it to the museum either before or after you go to Arthur Bryant's. [New York Times]

Tony Plush's kitty kat: Good for Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan, who adopted a new cat from the Wisconsin Humane Society. [Twitter]

Dim your jacket: Tuesday night the umpires working the A's-O's game had to ask two men with LED equipped clothing behind the plate to dim their wares. [Yahoo!'s Big League Stew]

Extending Ichiro?: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times makes the argument against the Mariners extending Ichiro's contract.

Passport problems: Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur will use his off day on Monday to get a new passport -- his old one expired after 10 years and he forgot about it. The Royals are scheduled to go to Toronto later that day. [Kansas City Star]

Hat flap: The National wanted to wear military hats in Tuesday's game, but Major League Baseball denied their request. Instead, the Nationals wore the hats during batting practice. The main reason? Well, ignore the jibber-jabber from MLB, it's that there was no money to be made, so they didn't want to do it. MLB told the Washington Post that it prefers to for teams to use patches or batting practice for such displays. [Washington Post's DC Sports Bog]

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 3:09 pm
 

Sosa says Zambrano shouldn't retire

Sammy SosaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Of all people to be giving Carlos Zambrano advice, Sammy Sosa may not be the best. 

That said, Sosa's advice for Zambrano through MLB.com's Carrie Muskat isn't that bad. The gist, don't retire because the money is too good.

From Muskat's story:

"I see a lot of players make all their money in baseball and when they retire it's a mess," he said. "They surround themselves with some bad people. There's so many bad people outside waiting to get their money.

"That reaction [on Friday] cost [Zambrano] $3 million," Sosa said. "Maybe he doesn't need it now, but later on he will. That's money he worked hard for all his life."

Sosa also said a lot of his friends waste their money and have to go into coaching because "they don't know how to do anything else."

Zambrano, 30, is in the fourth year of a five-year, $91.5 million contract and is owed $18 million for 2012. Still, most in or around the Cubs organization seem to have zero interest in Zambrano returning to a Cub uniform.

Zambrano is 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA this season -- the highest ERA of any full season in his career. But the right-hander has enough talent that he'll be able to find a job pitching somewhere, even if there are justifiable concerns about his mental stability and the way he'll fit in to a clubhouse. Of course, he'll have a hard time finding anyone to give him near $18 million a year again or a long-term deal of any sort.

Zambrano has made repeated statements that he plans to retire after his current contract runs out and just last week threatened retirement after being thrown out of a game against the Braves. He is currently on the disqualified list and not being paid.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com