Cubs place Carlos Zambrano on disqualified list

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Carlos Zambrano retiring? If only it was that easy.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cubs have placed Zambrano on the disqualified list. This includes 30 days without pay and no contact with the team.

While Zambrano cleaned out his locker and reportedly told some of his teammates that he was thinking about retirement following last night’s ejection, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that his agent Barry Praver told Cubs GM Jim Hendry that he is “not in the retirement mode.”

Right on cue, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com hears from a source that the players’ union plans to file a grievance against the Cubs for their decision to place Big Z on the disqualified list without pay.

If the Cubs are lucky, this will end with some sort of settlement where both sides will sit down and Zambrano will get a sizable chunk of the approximately $24 million left on his contract and be sent on his merry way. Not holding my breath on that, though.

UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that the Cubs were told within two hours after Friday’s game that Zambrano “definitely” wasn’t retiring. He also made “private, emotional remarks” to the club staff and returned his belongings to his locker.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves