In change of heart, Carlos Zambrano says he’ll waive no-trade clause

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Although he would prefer to remain a Cub, Carlos Zambrano told FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause if presented with a deal this summer.

“I’ve heard rumors,” he told FOXSports.com. “I’ve already talked to my family. They said, ‘It’s OK. If you think it’s good for you, if you feel you want to be traded, do it.’”

Unlike Michael Cuddyer, Zambrano has full no-trade protection under the terms of his five-year, $91.5 million deal with the Cubs.  He’s owed about $10 million over the rest of this season and $18 million in 2012.  They’re a $19.25 million option for 2013 on his deal, but that will only vest if he finishes first or second in the Cy Young vote this year or in the top four next year.

Zambrano, who refused to discuss the possibility of a trade last season, didn’t necessarily say that he’d be willing to go anywhere.  However, he doesn’t want to stay where he isn’t wanted.

“If they come to me and want to trade me, obviously it’s because they don’t want me here anymore,” he said. “I always say that. I’ll be here until the Cubs decide to trade me.”

Zambrano has been linked to the Yankees on several occasions, though Rosenthal hears the Bombers have only minimal interest in him.  The Yankees might actually prefer Zambrano’s teammate, Ryan Dempster, as a trade target.

The Giants might be ready to part ways with Hunter Pence

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.

The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.

Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.