Zambrano joining up with Triple-A Iowa this week

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Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano completed a three-week anger management program on Thursday and was sent to the club’s spring training complex in Mesa, Florida to begin working his way back to the big leagues.

That process took a big leap forward this morning, as it was announced by the Des Moines Register that Big Z will be joining up with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs on either Tuesday or Wednesday to begin throwing in live games.  Zambrano is being brought back as a reliever, so it shouldn’t take him long to build endurance and work out any kinks that have developed in his delivery.

The right-hander, of course, was suspended indefinitely by the Cubs in late June for going on a tirade in the dugout after a rough outing.  He had a 5.66 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 22 outings (nine starts) before the unfortunate incident.

Mets, Jacob deGrom agree to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension

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The Mets have a deal on a contract extension with ace Jacob deGrom. Andy Martino of SNY was the first to report the deal. The terms, per Ken Rosenthal: five years, $137.5 million with a club option for 2024. deGrom gets a full no-trade clause and has a potential opt-out after 2022.

Sale was slated to earn $17 million this year, so the deal contains $120.5 million in new money. There will be some restructuring, however, so it’s possible that his 2019 salary will be increased. The overall average annual value of the deal — which covers this year and next year, which would’ve been arbitration, and three potential years of free agency, is $27.5 million

Overall, the contract is very similar to the one Chris Sale just signed, even though he is a year further from free agency. deGrom will earn $107 million between now and his opt-out date. Sale will earn $105 million. Of course, if the doesn’t opt-out the deal runs through 2023, with that club option for 2024.

deGrom, the 2018 Cy Young Award winner has made no secret of his desire for a contract extension. He, likewise, has said he would not discuss the matter with the Mets after the start of the season on Thursday. This, then, is getting the job done, just under the wire.

deGrom is coming off of a season in which he posted a 1.70 ERA with 269 strikeouts and 46 walks across 217 innings. It’s the lowest ERA by a qualified starter since Zack Greinke‘s 1.66 in 2015. Prior to Greinke, no pitcher had posted an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in 1994-95 (1.56, 1.63).

deGrom will turn 31 years old in June. He’ll be 35 when the deal ends or, if the option is picked up, 36.