zambrano getty

Carlos Zambrano on demotion to bullpen: “It’s not my role, but I have to do it”

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All things considered Carlos Zambrano reacted pretty well to the Marlins demoting him to the bullpen yesterday.

Not only didn’t he destroy any Gatorade coolers, his quotes about the situation were perfectly reasonable:

It’s not my role, but I have to do it. There is no other choice. If they put me in the bullpen, they put me in the bullpen. I have to keep doing my job, and keep trying to come back and being in the rotation again. The Cubs tried to do that to me, put me in the bullpen. It didn’t work. My arm is not built to be in the bullpen, but I have to do it. I’m at a stage in my career where I’ve been my whole life as a starter. But I have to do it. I will do it until somebody remembers me.

Zambrano saying that his arm “is not built to be in the bullpen” is interesting, because at first glance he seems like exactly the type of pitcher who might thrive as a reliever late in his career. He still throws hard, but poor control and a diminishing strikeout rate have combined to make him an ineffective starter. Working out of the bullpen tends to fix those problems for a lot of pitchers and while Zambrano’s durability as a starter was once enough of a strength that shifting him to a one-inning role didn’t make sense, that’s no longer the case either.

Dating back to the beginning of last season Zambrano has a 4.67 ERA and 187/123 K/BB ratio in 262 innings spread over 44 starts.

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.