Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that “the Cubs are definitely dangling Carlos Zambrano” while Jon Heyman of SI.com dismissed Zambrano rumors as “a time waster” because he has a no-trade clause and plans to remain in Chicago.
So which is it? Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune went to the Cubs’ general manager looking for an answer, but not surprisingly Jim Hendry “declined to discuss” the various (and varying) reports. Here’s all he would say about Zambrano’s status:
He’s got full no-trade rights, which he negotiated into his contract. I fully expect him to come back in 2010 and pitch like the old “Big Z.”
The whole thing is a moot point if Zambrano is unwilling to waive his no-trade clause, which his agent has repeatedly insisted is the case. Of course, if the Cubs truly believed that a trade was impossible then they wouldn’t even listen to calls about Zambrano, yet it seems fairly clear that some level of talks have taken place surrounding the 28-year-old right-hander.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.