During the past week Carlos Zambrano has gotten thrown out of a game for arguing what proved to be a correct call, gone absolutely insane following the ejection, bashed a Gatorade machine into retirement, drawn a six-game suspension from MLB, and now the Chicago Tribune reports that “he blew off the team flight to Atlanta on Monday without permission.”
Zambrano showed up at the ballpark yesterday and “was summoned into
manager Lou Piniella’s office … for a meeting that lasted about five
minutes.” Given the respective tempers involved, I’m sure that was a
pleasant, low-key conversation. According to the Tribune, Zambrano “is expected to be fined for this latest incident and may be asked to apologize to his teammates.”
The newspaper also notes that “this isn’t the first time Zambrano has
ignored team rules” and “the Cubs appear to be wearying of his act.”
Meanwhile, since signing a five-year, $91.5 million contract extension
two Augusts ago Zambrano has a 4.02 ERA and 214/117 K/BB ratio in 286
innings spread over 46 starts. Prior to inking the deal he had a 3.37
ERA in 172 career starts.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.
The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.
Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.
This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.