Carlos Zambrano is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA since rejoining the Cubs' rotation


Carlos Zambrano knocked the Padres out of the Wild Card lead last night by tossing seven shutout innings in a 1-0 victory, continuing his excellent run since rejoining the Cubs’ rotation following a misguided temporary move to the bullpen.
Zambrano is now 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 outings since becoming a starter again, holding opponents to a .189 batting average and just one homer in 219 at-bats. And amazingly, after posting ERAs of 6.56, 5.00, and 5.01 in April, May, and June his overall mark is down to 3.36, which would be Zambrano’s best ERA since 2005.
I’m not convinced that Zambrano is all that new and improved, because his 55/37 K/BB ratio isn’t particularly strong and despite doing such a great job keeping the ball in the ballpark his ground-ball rate isn’t actually very good either. On the other hand, I thought the Cubs were far too quick to bump him from the rotation in the first place and his current run is a not-so-subtle reminder that he can still be a very effective starter.
All of which is good news for the Cubs, because they still owe him $18 million in each of the next two years.

Shawn Tolleson becomes a free agent

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The Rangers outrighted reliever Shawn Tolleson off the 40-man roster on Wednesday. Rather than accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, Tolleson has opted to become a free agent, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake reports.

Tolleson, 28, emerged as a closer for the Rangers in 2015, but his follow-up campaign this year was dreadful. He finished with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He eventually went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.

Despite the nightmarish season, it’s easy to see a team deciding to take a flier on Tolleson for the 2017 season.

Indians strongly considering starting Carlos Santana in left field sans DH

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against Marco Estrada #25 of the Toronto Blue Jays during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday,’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.

Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.