What should the Cubs do with Carlos Zambrano?

What should the Cubs do with Carlos Zambrano?

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Carlos Zambrano

What should the Cubs do with Carlos Zambrano?

One thing we love in this country is second chances and redemption stories.  

Pacman Jones MugshotHow many comebacks has Mel Gibson made?  I just saw a commercial for a movie of his - I mean, it was about him with a beaver puppet that he thinks is alive, or something like that - but it’s a comeback non-the-less.  What about Mike Vick?  Last NFL season he was the golden boy, comeback-kid just years after his terrible acts.  The poster-child for comebacks despite bad behavior is Adam “Pacman” Jones.  I’m not talking about the arcade game (eating ghosts), or Adam Jones of the Orioles, but Adam Jones of the NFL.  He wasn’t even a star; he was a really good kick returner for one year.  Numerous times the league suspended him for conduct, yet he kept getting a chance.

What about Carlos Zambrano, does he deserve a comeback?  

He did one thing that the other’s didn’t.  He quit. Literally.  This isn’t like when people believe that Manny quit for the Red Sox.  Big Z emptied out his locker and said that he was retiring.  So  the Cubs did what the Cubs should have done; they put him on the disqualified list, meaning a 30-day suspension without pay.  Now Zambrano has changed his mind, and wants the $18M he is owed next year.  So the union is appealing.

Zambrano Fights TeammateThe thing that bothers me is that the union will win.  But should it?  The moment that he cleans out his locker and says that he’s done, the Cubs should be able to terminate his terrible contract.  If I were the arbiter, I would rule in favor of the Cubs.  They should have the right to void his contract.  Unfortunately, they won’t win.  So what can the Cubs do with Carlos Zambrano? I have one solution that I think might work.

Trade Zambrano to the Mariners for Chone Figgins.

Figgins is owed $9 million in 2012, $8 million in 2013, and has an $8 million option if he reaches 600 PA in 2013.  The Figgins contract is more expensive than Zambrano, but Figgins doesn’t have the rap sheet.  The Cubs and Mariners did a similar trade a few year back when they traded Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva.  

Chone FigginsHere is why the Cubs should do it.  First of all, get some production out of that contract.  Used correctly, Figgins was a good player for the Angels.  It’s possible to try Figgins in the outfield.  If not he can be a backup utility player for the rest of the year.  After this year Carlos Pena is a free agent and Aramis Ramirez has an option.  If they aren’t both brought back, Figgins can play third with Pena, Ramirez, or a free agent playing first.  The Cubs could use Figgins as a speed guy at the top of their lineup, or hitting 8th.  Maybe facing NL pitching will revive him.

Here’s why the Mariners should do it.

In the long run they save money.  They take a one year $18M hit.  There is a chance that pitching in Safeco will be good for Zambrano.  Next year they have him in his contract year, maybe they can give him the Erik Bedard treatment.  Knock his value up a little and trade him at the deadline.  There is also a very slight chance that having a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, and Carlos Zambrano will keep the Mariners in the hunt next year.

Mel Gibson The BeaverBoth these teams are in a no-win situation if they keep these stars. So why not give it a try?  This experiment couldn’t be any worse than “The Beaver”.

By Mike Lavery
Wednesday, 17 Aug 2011

Adam Jones, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Carlos Silva, Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, Chone Figgins, Erik Bedard, Felix Hernandez, Manny Ramirez, Michael Pineda, Milton Bradley, Seattle Mariners


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