No matter what paper you pick up on your driveway, no matter what sports radio station you listen to and no matter who you feel is the most reliable Cubs reporter, the consensus is the same among all of them. Starting Pitcher Carlos Zambrano has pitched his last game for the Chicago Cubs. While there is a good chance that Zambrano will not retire, it is all but certain that Zambrano’s time with the Cubs has come to an abrupt end. After the jump, we take a look at various reports coming out today that signal the end of Zambrano’s time with the Cubs.
- Perhaps the most compelling article is given to us by Bruce Miles of Daily Herald. In his Daily Herald Blog, Miles comes to the realization that Zambrano will not be a member of the Cubs for much longer. Miles talked to general manager Jim Hendry last night, and it was Miles’ belief that this is not a reactionary gesture by Hendry, albeit disappointed, the Cubs’ general manager knows that is time for the team to end their relationship with Zambrano. As I mentioned last night, it is inevitable that MLB Players Association will have a say in this matter. Miles mentions that there will be a battle between the Cubs and the MLBPA as to whether or not Zambrano is owed the remaining $20+ million on his contract, but if Zambrano does intend to retire, there is nothing the MLBPA can do. However, chances are that Zambrano will retract his retirement, forcing the Cubs to either A) Suspend him for the rest of the season, B) Place him on Outright Waivers, or C) Buyout the remaining time on Zambrano’s contract.
- While offering a recap of last night’s incident, Paul Sullivan reports that even if Zambrano tries to apologize his way back on the team, his days with the Cubs are probably over. Sullivan offers quotes from Aramis Ramurez and Marlon Byrd and both players have a wait and see mentality. Though this latest tirade by Zambrano caught Ramirez off guard, Byrd seems to believe that frustration got the best of Zambrano. Frustration or not, the Cubs have seen this act from Zambrano on way too many occasions. Which is why Zambrano’s latest “frustration” has likely ended his career with the only team that he has ever been with.
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times cites an unnamed player who called the circumstances a “wonderful opportunity for the organization to get better.” While the public support for Zambrano is their from his teammates, there seems to be a belief that many players within the clubhouse feel the team would be better off without Zambrano. If that is the case, then Zambrano’s fate is all but sealed. Milton Bradley and Sammy Sosa were also two players that were not liked within the Cubs clubhouse, and both of them found new teams after walking out on the Cubs. Zambrano will be no different.
I knew that Zambrano’s time with the Cubs was coming to an end, but never did I envision his Cubs’ career will finish like this. But, no matter what is said by Zambrano or the MLBPA the sense is that the Cubs are cutting their ties with the temperamental starting pitcher. In the end, that is the best move for the Cubs as an organization.