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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.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.