Carlos Zambrano says the Cubs need some “changes”

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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.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.