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.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.