UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano suspended indefinitely

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UPDATE: According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely for his actions during Friday’s game.

“His conduct was not acceptable,” Cubs general
manager Jim Hendry said. “It has become a bit of a tired act.”

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Hendry said, “We’ll play with
24 before we tolerate that behavior.”

Wow.

Zambrano was sent home by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who called the whole incident “embarrassing” during a post-game press conference. Speaking of embarrassing, Big Z reportedly jawed at some cameramen on the way out of the stadium, according to Sullivan. Film at 11!

Oh, and just a reminder, Zambrano is in the third year of a five-year, $91.5 million contract. Fun.

5:05 PM: Today’s starter Carlos Zambrano went nuts during the first inning of today’s Cubs-White
Sox game, after which he was removed from the game by Lou Piniella and asked to
leave the ballpark.

The details: The first batter he faced was
Juan Pierre, who doubled down the first base line. Zambrano then gave up
another double, a single and a three-run home run to Carlos Quentin,
and ended the inning behind 4-0.  Once he got back to the dugout he got
up in Derrek Lee’s face, obviously jawing at him over his failure to
field Pierre’s hit before it made it down the line.

And he might have had a point. I’m not watching the game, but those
who are say that the ball was probably playable for Lee.  But if
Zambrano had any moral high ground on that point he lost it the second
he decided to yell at rather than talk to Lee, and then when he decided
to smash the Gatorade cooler and throw water on the field.  That was
enough for Piniella, obviously, who replaced Zambrano with Tom
Gorzelanny. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this one after the game.

Just another day at the ballpark for Big Z.  Just another summer of
dealing with a freakin’ head case for the Chicago Cubs. 

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.

Spring training will be slightly shortened in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 15:  General view of action between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 15, 2014 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The A's defeated the Giants 8-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.

Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.

The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.

While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.