Cubs: The best international signings in team history

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs/ Carlos Zambrano (Photo by Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Controlling the Mound

1. Carlos Zambrano

The team signed Zambrano, known as “Big Z” out of Venezuela, on July 12th, 1997. He would go on to become one of the most memorable pitchers in history.

Throughout his marvelous 11 seasons in the Windy City, Zambrano would compel a 125-81 record with a 3.60 ERA. His 1,542 strikeouts are second-most in franchise history trailing the legendary Fergie Jenkins, who has 2,038 strikeouts. The 6’4” righty also achieved such high moments during his career; on September 18th, 2008, in a contest between the Cubs and Houston Astros, Zambrano pitched a no-hitter.

Besides his no-hitter, Big Z was a three-time all-star. He also got it done at the plate, as he won three silver slugger awards (2006,2008-09). His 23 career home runs helped him attain a lifetime .241 batting average with a .251 on-base percentage. According to Baseball-Reference, Zambrano’s career WAR rating of 37.7 ranks him ninth all-time in Cubs history.