And here we thought being in the best shape of his life would make a big difference. Here’s the great Fergie Jenkings on the Cubs’ highly-paid mopup man:
“The guy I thought was going to be a winner was Carlos Zambrano,”
Jenkins said. “But he just can’t get it together.” The reason, Jenkins speculated, was Zambrano’s offseason weight loss.
“Zambrano was always a guy who was pretty big. (Now) his fastball is
like my changeup. He doesn’t have the same movement. I think he took
away a big part of his ability by (dropping 30 pounds).”
Maybe. As I’ve written in the past, Zambrano is one of those guys who always looks kinda tired on the mound. Even when he was racking up innings pitched a couple of years ago, he always looked kinda sweaty and tired and like someone who could stand to lose that weight.
But I’m not going to lay it all on the line arguing with a guy like Fergie Jenkins about pitching, because he’s obviously forgotten more than any of us will ever know about it. And I’ll offer that having extra weight hasn’t hurt guys like Sabathia and David Wells and any number of other portly pitchers. A big, um, foundation can kind of help.
But who knows? Zambrano’s problems have always been more in his head than on his waistline, so I’m still hesitant to agree with Jenkins too. Especially considering that, as is obvious in the above photo, it’s not like Zambrano is wasting away or anything. He lost some bloat, but he’s still a big due. Likely bigger than he was when he came up and was throwing fire.
I do know that Zambrano has had an awful lot of free time down in the Cubs’ bullpen lately, having thrown seven innings in the over two weeks since he was relieved of his starting duties. Maybe he should take Jenkins’ advice to heart and start eating Ho-Hos and hot dogs and stuff down there and see if he can’t regain that winning form.
The Giants have acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Twins in exchange for minor league pitcher Adalberto Mejia, Sarah Crabill/Getty Images.
Nunez, 29, went 0-for-4 in Thursday night’s game against the Orioles. He’s hitting .296/.325/.439 with 12 home runs, 47 RBI, 49 runs scored, and a league-best 26 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances this season. Nunez has played mostly at shortstop this season, but has also logged significant time at third base and a handful of games at second base, so he’ll give the Giants some versatility.
Nunez will likely play a lot of third base for the Giants as Matt Duffy is still sidelined with a strained left Achilles. He’s earning $1.475 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility heading into 2017.
Mejia, 23, was considered the Giants’ seventh-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento last month after posting a 1.94 ERA with Double-A Richmond. In seven starts with Sacramento, he has a 4.20 ERA with a 43/11 K/BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.
With a roster spot open, the Twins called up infield prospect Jorge Polanco from Triple-A Rochester, per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that the Mariners have received “strong” trade interest for starter Taijuan Walker. The right-hander is currently on the mend from tendinitis in his right foot. He’ll throw a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field with scouts in attendance.
Walker, 23, has a 3.66 ERA with an 80/18 K/BB ratio in 86 innings this season. It’s his first bit of sustained success at the major league level. What’s arguably just as intriguing is the fact that Walker will be under team control through 2020.
The Mariners have been hovering around .500 for the last month and entered Thursday six games behind the first-place Rangers in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot, behind three other teams as well as the two Wild Card leaders. It’s enough uncertainty which could push the Mariners to sell.