Saturday, June 26, 2010

Someone To Blame----Unfairly

  • Another explosion from Carlos Zambrano:

Carlos Zambrano might----might----have been an attractive possibility to a club who would take a chance on his talent if the Cubs: A) were willing to eat a large chunk of the remaining guaranteed money on his contract; and B) either gave him away for little-to-nothing in terms of players or took a rotten contract back in return.

Now, after yesterday's dugout blowout with stoic (unless you make him mad) teammate Derrek Lee, Zambrano has been suspended indefinitely by the Cubs. You can see the confrontation

Zambrano was angry at what he perceived to be his defense's lack of effort in not diving for balls he felt were catchable. In watching the video and not knowing what Zambrano said, it didn't appear to be as egregious as the reports are implying. With Zambrano it's an accumulation of incidents rather than the incident itself.

As much as Zambrano has disappointed, he hasn't pitched that terribly this year as a starter or reliever. Because of his contract; disinterest in fitness; and self-destructive emotionality, his reputation is shot; his marketability non-existent, but what makes this worse is that everyone involved with the Cubs----teammates, management and fans----have had it with him. Just plain had it.

Were there teams that would've rolled the dice on Zambrano if the circumstances were right? Yes. His contract is horrific. He's making $17.87 million this year and in 2011; $18 million in 2012; and has a vesting player option for $19.25 million in 2013----difficult, but not impossible to move if he starts pitching as he's capable of.

And that's the trick.

No one is ever going to be happy with Carlos Zambrano until he pitches up to his abilities; but if you look at his numbers, he's been quite good up until the last year-and a half and even since then he hasn't been overtly "bad". You need a pitcher to guarantee you 33 starts? 200+ innings? Go deeply into games? Show some fire? And hit? Putting the contract and recent events aside, why wouldn't you want to take a chance on Zambrano?

His reputation is shot; the Cubs season is going down in flames; the entire front office, on-field management and players have to know that the end is near for this current group and Zambrano has become the lightning rod for what's befallen them since their NLDS loss in 2008.

Still only 29 and portrayed as the epitome of what's wrong with the Cubs, Zambrano is taking the heat----he needs a change of scenery desperately----but is the heat entirely fair?


The Cubs are a nightmare and while he's being crucified for being a repeat offender, there's more than enough blame to go around for what's happened to the Cubs even if Zambrano is removed from the equation completely.

  • Viewer Mail 6.26.2010:

Jeff (Acting Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Bobby Valentine and the Marlins:

Maybe Valentine in South Florida will get people to the ballpark. Watching a Marlins game is so depressing -- not because of the on-field product, but because there's simply no one there, at the stadium.

I doubt many fans will come to see a manager manage be it Bobby Valentine, Lou Piniella, Tony La Russa or Connie Mack; and if they do, it won't last long if the product is poor. The Florida fans simply aren't that interested in baseball compared to football, college and pro----it's the way it is.

Taking a different view of that situation, the fan ambivalence is a boon to the way the Marlins do business. On the surface, with the way the dispatch employees at a moment's notice once they've outlived their usefulness, would a more passionate fan base affect the way they run things? It's possible. A lack of fan reaction has allowed the Marlins to do as they've pleased and it's benefited them immensely in building their organization.

We'll see what happens when the new ballpark opens; if the frequent rain showers and ballpark built for football is really the detriment as it's been assumed or if fans simply aren't interested enough in baseball to show up. It's opening in 2012 and presumably the club will be young, talented and managed by Bobby Valentine. Then we'll see.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Bobby Valentine, Jeffrey Loria and Joe Girardi:

If Loria had a problem with Girardi's "insubordination," how's he going to react when Valentine goes off to the media? Should be entertaining.

Valentine has a cachet and resume to be a little more free with his comments to the media and his bosses than Girardi had. Girardi was a rookie manager who probably should've tempered himself a bit to account for certain things even if he felt he was in the right. Loria is notoriously touchy and more than willing to exert his authority as the owner of the club----and it's his right to do so.

There'll be a honeymoon period between Valentine and Loria that will prevent any early explosions, but Bobby V is Bobby V and he brings that party with him.

The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger writes RE Bobby Valentine, the Marlins and the Mets:

Loria, David Samson, Beinfest, Valentine and what coaches he brings in, make for one of the elite front offices in Baseball. If you throw in their very fertile farm system...when the Marlins get their new park they are going to be down right insane with the cash infusion. The Wilpons will still be their relenting, meek/mawkish selves and there-in stemmed my "fear", which should have been taken in jest, of Valentine at the helm for the Fish.

I've never hidden my admiration for the Marlins, but given how well the Mets have played; have replenished their image throughout baseball this season; I'd think you'd feel better about the future.

They've weathered the borderline ridiculous attacks that amounted to brutalizing a wounded animal for sport and convenience and shown themselves to be a healthier organization than was alleged. (Not even the Pirates have dealt with the vitriol the Mets did this past winter.)

There is room for certain concessions out of kindness while still being ruthless. The Mets traded Billy Wagner to a contender last season, forfeiting the draft picks that would've come with keeping him (and got a decent bat in Chris Carter to boot) because I think they felt, in part, that it was the right thing to do for Wagner personally. That's not to be ignored when players are considering coming to the Mets----they're nice to their employees, sometimes to a fault; but I don't think it's a bad thing.

Valentine's a great strategic manager, but he does have his faults as I detailed yesterday. We'll see if he's learned from his mistakes once he takes command.

Listen to my appearance with Sal at SportsFan Buzz from a week ago Thursday. Clic2010BaseballGuideCover.gifk on the site link or click here.

My book is still available on Amazon, I-Universe and Barnes and It's available for download as an E-book here. You can also now get it for less that five bucks on BN via download here.


Joe said...

Z's only 29? He feels older than that...

She-Fan said...

Zambrano and Milton Bradley should form their own team and call it the Nutjobs.

Brooklyn Trolley Blogger said...

I wonder what Tom Ricketts' new "stat zombie" has to say about Carlos? What a meltdown.