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.
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.
Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.
Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority. Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”
To that end:
- Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
- Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
- Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.
Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”
While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.
Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.