Yesterday afternoon there were several reports about the Cubs trying to convince a contending team to take Carlos Zambrano and his contract off their hands, which predictably didn’t go very well.
Then a few hours later Zambrano took the mound against the Brewers and threw 6.2 innings of two-run ball in a tough-luck loss, looking visibly upset as manager Mike Quade removed him from the game and then telling anyone who would listen in the clubhouse afterward that the Cubs need to make “changes.”
Here’s how Carrie Muskat of MLB.com described the scene:
“I do want to stay here,” Zambrano said. “At the same time, I want this team to make some changes. If we want to win here, we need to make changes. If I have to go, I have to go but I’ll still have the Cubs in m heart. If the change has to be me, that’s OK.”
The Cubs haven’t approached him about any possible trade. “If it comes, it comes and I’ll think about it,” Zambrano said.
What kind of changes would he like to see the team make? “Change. A lot of change,” he said. “A lot of changes to win.”
Does that mean change the players? “Change,” Zambrano said.
Just connecting the dots, it seems pretty obvious that Zambrano is talking about Quade, although he might also be talking about various under-performing players. You know, like Carlos Zambrano.
Zambrano has a career-worst 4.59 ERA in 21 starts while striking out a career-low 6.1 batters per nine innings. He’s still a decent mid-rotation starter, but his arm has been worked a whole lot harder than most 30-year-olds and with one more year and $18 million remaining on his contract he’s obviously being paid like a top-of-the-rotation stud.
Somehow being able to trade Zambrano, either for a decent prospect or just to wipe his contract off the books, would be a very positive “change” for the Cubs. Short of that miracle taking place, however, firing the guy who gave Zambrano the contract might be a worthwhile “change” and it sure seems like Quade’s supporters are rapidly shrinking in number as well.
UPDATE: Our friends at CSNChicago.com have the video of Zambrano’s “changes” rant.