Carlos Zambrano is in the best shape of his life

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Carlos Zambrano has lost some weight and has already been in Arizona a week getting ready for the season despite the fact that pitchers and catchers don’t report until Februay 17th.  Lou likes it:

“Carlos was a little heavy last year, there’s no question,” manager  Lou Piniella told fans at the Cubs Convention. “He’s another player (besides  Geovany Soto) we had a nice conversation with toward the end of the year . . . He looks absolutely wonderful, and I think you’ll see a heck of a better performance from him just because of that,” Piniella said.

Zambrano has always been one of those guys who always looks kind of gassed out there, even when he was pitching really well.  I like him — as I’ve written before, he reminds me of a 1960s pitcher in a lot of ways, and 1960s pitchers were awesome — so I hope the loss of a few pounds will help him bounce back.

Report: Padres have made offers to both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper

Manny Machado
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Jon Heyman has been hot on the free agent trail today, reporting that the Padres have made offers both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The offer to Machado is believed to be for eight years and about $250 million, while the offer to Harper is believed to be for more than that.

Heyman was reporting on Harper earlier, tweeting that the Phillies are the favorite to sign him. He added this evening that Harper has multiple long-term offers at more than $30 million annually. Regarding Machado, Heyman noted that while Machado was believed to have had a preference for the East coast, he will go for the best deal now, which puts the Padres firmly in the picture.

The Padres reportedly met with Machado last week. A late entrant into the sweepstakes, the club has shown the willingness to spend, signing Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million contract last year. If he goes to San Diego, Machado would be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop.

Nothing appears close, but we’ll take anything resembling a spark to light the hot stove.