Veteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano was moved to the bullpen in late April in a highly criticized move by manager Lou Piniella and the Cubs front office. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck, that will all change Wednesday when he rejoins the starting rotation and faces the Pirates.
Big Z allowed six earned runs and 16 hits in 13 innings as a reliever for the Cubs and opposing hitters batted .301 against him, but Piniella seems to think he’s shown signs of confidence and will do well in his return to starting.
“He’s been throwing the ball well here the last 10 days or so. Now we need for him to carry it over into the rotation and then win some ballgames for us,” Piniella said. “He’ll make our rotation stronger if he pitches the way he’s capable of pitching. So let’s see what happens.”
Tom Gorzelanny, 2-5 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP through nine starts this season, will be moved to the bullpen to clear room. It seems like a misguided move, but moving Zambrano to a relief role made no sense in the first place. Two wrongs make a right?
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Marlins, Mets, and Yankees have had discussions about a three-team trade in which Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto would go to the Mets. It’s not known which other players were discussed in the deal, but Rosenthal notes that the Mets wouldn’t be willing to part with Noah Syndergaard if they are only getting Realmuto in return.
Realmuto, 27, was the best offensive catcher in baseball in 2018, batting .277/.340/.484 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI in 531 plate appearances. He has two more years of team control remaining until he becomes eligible for free agency, adding to his value.
The Mets’ catching corps currently includes Kevin Plawecki and Travis d'Arnaud, so Realmuto would be a significant upgrade. Such a trade would be the club’s second big splash of the offseason as the Mets finalized a trade to acquire second baseman Robinson Canó and closer Edwin Díaz from the Mariners earlier this month.
Interestingly, the Mets and Yankees haven’t made a deal involving major league players since December 2004, when the two sides swapped pitchers Mike Stanton and Félix Heredia, Rosenthal points out.