Carlos Zambrano apologizes, just not to his teammates

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During an interview with ESPN’s Pedro Gomez on Monday, Carlos Zambrano apologized to Cubs fans for the June 29 tantrum that landed him on the restricted list.

“It was a moment of frustration,” Zambrano said Monday in an interview
with ESPN. “I was trying to fire up the team. Lee told me to shut up,
and I got more excited. I apologize from the bottom of my heart. The
last person I would be mad at is D. Lee; he’s a Gold Glover. I was just
mad at myself.”

And that’s all well and good, aside from the fact that just last week, Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he wanted Zambrano to apologize to his teammates before speaking to the media. Here’s a flashback:

“I think it’s more important for him to clear that hurdle first,”
Piniella said of the apology. “And once he does that, then talk to the
media. I think that’s the right approach from him…We’re just going to
let him talk to the team, whatever he wants to say. Whenever he gets
here, we’ll have a little meeting and let Carlos say what he needs to

Zambrano has already apologized to Derrek Lee personally, but according to Gomez’s report, he won’t do so with the rest of his teammates until he re-joins the team in Colorado on Friday.

For what it’s worth, Piniella had little to say about the ESPN interview when asked by Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune on Monday:

“I don’t have any comment about that,” Piniella said about the
television interview, in which Zambrano appeared contrite. “I do know
what is needed — that’s for him to talk to his teammates when he gets
here over the weekend, assuming he gets here over the weekend. He needs
to get that handled and he’ll be accepted back by his manager and his

I’m not a Cubs fan or anything, but even if Big Z’s remorse is legitimate, his priorities appear to be in the wrong place.

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.