Report: Cubs 'plan on shopping' Carlos Zambrano

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Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs “plan on shopping” Carlos Zambrano this offseason, but the odds of a trade seem fairly slim.
The most obvious hurdle is that Zambrano has a full no-trade clause as part of the five-year extension that he signed in August of 2007, but even assuming that he’s willing to accept a deal how many teams will be interested in paying him $18 million per season for 2010, 2011, and 2012?
Perhaps that price tag would have been palatable to some high-payroll teams a few years ago, when Zambrano was an ace and money was flowing more freely, but things have changed. Zambrano will throw under 200 innings for the second straight year after topping the 200-inning mark annually from 2003 to 2007, and while his stints on the disabled list this season have been for hamstring and back injuries there’s an awful lot of mileage on his 28-year-old right arm.
Plus, he’s simply no longer a No. 1 starter. During his first four full seasons in the Cubs’ rotation Zambrano went 59-32 with a 3.14 ERA, but over the past three seasons he has ERAs of 3.95, 3.91, and 3.77. His strikeout rate has declined, his walk rate hasn’t improved, and he’s no longer an extreme ground-ball pitcher. He’s just not an $18 million pitcher at this point, let alone an $18 million pitcher worth giving up legitimate prospects to acquire.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.