Report: Cubs 'plan on shopping' Carlos Zambrano

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Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs “plan on shopping” Carlos Zambrano this offseason, but the odds of a trade seem fairly slim.
The most obvious hurdle is that Zambrano has a full no-trade clause as part of the five-year extension that he signed in August of 2007, but even assuming that he’s willing to accept a deal how many teams will be interested in paying him $18 million per season for 2010, 2011, and 2012?
Perhaps that price tag would have been palatable to some high-payroll teams a few years ago, when Zambrano was an ace and money was flowing more freely, but things have changed. Zambrano will throw under 200 innings for the second straight year after topping the 200-inning mark annually from 2003 to 2007, and while his stints on the disabled list this season have been for hamstring and back injuries there’s an awful lot of mileage on his 28-year-old right arm.
Plus, he’s simply no longer a No. 1 starter. During his first four full seasons in the Cubs’ rotation Zambrano went 59-32 with a 3.14 ERA, but over the past three seasons he has ERAs of 3.95, 3.91, and 3.77. His strikeout rate has declined, his walk rate hasn’t improved, and he’s no longer an extreme ground-ball pitcher. He’s just not an $18 million pitcher at this point, let alone an $18 million pitcher worth giving up legitimate prospects to acquire.

Asdrubal Cabrera signs with the Texas Rangers

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Texas Rangers have signed infielder Asdrubal Cabrera to a one-year deal, pending a physical. He’ll be paid $3.5 million, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Rosenthal reports that Cabrera will primarily play third base, replacing Adrian Beltre, who has retired.

It’s a fairly low price given that Cabrera hit 23 homers and posted a line of .262/.316/.458 (112 OPS+) between the Mets and Phillies last season but, as is the case with so many other veteran free agents, there did not appear to be much of a market developing for his services. He’ll at least get a lot of playing time in Texas, it would seem.