Just when I didn't think the Cubs could get more foolish…

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There are nine active pitchers with at least 100 victories and a win-loss percentage better than .600:
1. Johan Santana
2. Roy Halladay
3. Roy Oswalt
4. Tim Hudson
5. Andy Pettitte
6. CC Sabathia
7. Chris Carpenter
8. Josh Beckett
9. Carlos Zambrano
This is just a guess, but I don’t think the teams that control any of the first eight are weighing conversions to relief.
Ever since he landed his big contract, we’ve been told Carlos Zambrano isn’t a winner.
The Cubs, though, have played .518 ball during Zambrano’s seven seasons as a full-time starting pitcher. Zambrano, over that stretch, has a 100-58 record, good for a .632 winning percentage. Subtracting Zambrano’s 158 decisions from the Cubs’ mark leaves the team, remarkably enough, 487-487.
Sticking Zambrano in the bullpen is really the most boneheaded move the Cubs could have made. Sticking him in left field would have made as much sense. Zambrano, after all, has 16 homers in 314 at-bats since the beginning of 2006. Alfonso Soriano has eight homers in his past 314 at-bats.
Zambrano’s stuff hasn’t gone anywhere. He got lit up on Opening Day, but then, he usually gets lit up on Opening Day. The Cubs knew that and started him anyway. Zambrano has a history of tensing up in big situations, making him a possible timebomb in a late-inning role. Maybe he’ll be great. Maybe he’ll be the terrific seventh- and eighth-inning guy the Cubs need.
But Zambrano was pretty much a lock to be an above average starter this year. Ryan Dempster is the only other one of those the Cubs have. Ted Lilly’s health remains in doubt. It’s possible I’ve underestimated Randy Wells, but I don’t like his middling fastball and strikeout rate. Carlos Silva is due for an eight-run first inning anytime now, and while I like Tom Gorzelanny, he’s not someone who can be counted on.
So, no, I don’t think it’s too early to write off the Cubs for 2010. Zambrano’s shift will probably prove temporary, but this is a team in disarray. The NL Central won’t be up for grabs unless the Cardinals hit a mess of injuries, and I doubt the Cubs will prove better than then second place teams from the NL East or West.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.

Blue Jays narrow GM search to two candidates: Tony LaCava and Ross Atkins

Tony LaCava
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Blue Jays have narrowed their search for a new general manager down to two candidates: current interim GM Tony LaCava, and Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins. Former Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned last month.

LaCava was promoted to interim GM on November 2 and has already made a handful of moves along with new president Mark Shapiro. The club acquired Jesse Chavez in a trade and signed pitchers Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ to multi-year deals.

Atkins worked under Shapiro in the Indians organization for 15 seasons, so it is no surprise that he is a finalist for the open GM position.