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Carlos Zambrano calls the Cubs “embarrassing”

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Yesterday I flipped from the Reds-Dodgers game to the Cubs-Cardinals game. The kids were watching with me, and as they do every time a game is on, they constantly asked me questions about who so-and-so is, and is this guy good and all of that. Carlos Zambrano was on the mound and they asked me about him.

“Is he good?” my daughter asked.

“Um, yeah, sure, he’s good” I said.

“Is he cool?” my son asked.

“Well, I don’t know if ‘cool’ is the right word,” I told him.

All of this led to me explaining to them — as my wife listened in from the other room wondering why I engage in these conversations with the kids — about how Zambrano more or less flips out once a year and beats up coolers and fights with his teammates and stuff.  I think I started it with the idea of teaching the kids a lesson about composure and good sportsmanship, but it really just made them think that Zambrano was awesome.  I pretty much fail as a father.

Anyway, the conversation ended with the kids asking me to keep the game on because they wanted to see “the Carlos guy” go crazy on some Gatorade coolers or yell at someone.  I told them that it wasn’t going to happen because Zambrano has been better behaved this year and maybe he was trying harder to be a better teammate and all of that.  Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t. I feel like I need to share with the kids, however, the fact that Zambrano threw his teammates under the bus after the game:

Albert Pujols won Sunday’s game in the 10th inning with another walk-off homer. This time it was a Rodrigo Lopezfastball traveling 426 feet into the left-center field seats. But Zambrano felt burned by Carlos Marmol. The closer blew the save in the ninth when Ryan Theriot lined a two-out double down the left-field line, scoring the game-tying run from first.

“The problem wasn’t Pujols,” Zambrano said. “We played like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team, for the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing. That’s the word here for this team.

He specifically called out Marmol’s decision to throw Theriot a hanging breaking ball instead of a fastball, allowing him to tie things up.

Yes, this would have been a useful lesson for the kids. Maybe a dual lesson: (1) Sometimes it’s better to be seen rather than heard; but (2) Even if you can’t follow rule number 1, at least always tell the truth.

So, hey, at least Zambrano was half in the good yesterday. Because even if his motives were bratty and selfish (question: would he have called Marmol out if it was a Ryan Demptser start that got blown?) he’s not wrong.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.