Carlos Zambrano is in the best shape of his life

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Carlos Zambrano has lost some weight and has already been in Arizona a week getting ready for the season despite the fact that pitchers and catchers don’t report until Februay 17th.  Lou likes it:

“Carlos was a little heavy last year, there’s no question,” manager  Lou Piniella told fans at the Cubs Convention. “He’s another player (besides  Geovany Soto) we had a nice conversation with toward the end of the year . . . He looks absolutely wonderful, and I think you’ll see a heck of a better performance from him just because of that,” Piniella said.

Zambrano has always been one of those guys who always looks kind of gassed out there, even when he was pitching really well.  I like him — as I’ve written before, he reminds me of a 1960s pitcher in a lot of ways, and 1960s pitchers were awesome — so I hope the loss of a few pounds will help him bounce back.

The deadline is 8 PM ET Monday for Shohei Ohtani situation to be resolved

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Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.

Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.

Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.