Carlos Zambrano may be going on an apology tour, but according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, it’s going to be unsuccessful.
Wittenmyer takes the pulse of the Cubs’ front office and clubhouse and believes strongly that Zambrano has thrown his last pitch as a Cub. He calls Zambrano’s interview with CSNChicago.com part of “an image-fixing publicity tour of handpicked media outlets,” and says that it’s against the advice of Zambrano’s agent. He also notes that neither Jim Hendry nor Mike Quade are impressed with it. He believes that no matter what happens with Big Z’s grievance, the Cubs will keep him away from the team for the rest of the season and that they’ll continue to try to trade him in the winter.
Of course Zambrano is virtually untradeable, and certainly without the Cubs paying all or nearly all of his 2012 salary. And when that dawns on the Cubs, it’s not hard to imagine them simply releasing the guy, because it means more or less the same to them.
So yes, we’ve seen the Zambrano contrition parade in the past. But it seems like we’re about to see a brand new outcome.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.