Big Z’s annual apology tour is off and running.
Carlos Zambrano just spoke with David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, giving his first public comments since being ejected from Friday’s game against the Braves and walking out on the team. You’ll be shocked to learn that not only does he regret his actions, he wants to remain with the Cubs.
“I did want to retire, I feel bad with myself, not with the Cubs, not with the organization. I feel bad with me, with the performance, with what I am doing or I was doing in the season it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating every time I go to the mound and I give up eight runs. It’s not me, and I want to do my best.”
“I want to keep pitching for the Cubs. It was a moment of frustration Friday night, and I pitched so bad I wanted to retire, you know, I don’t want to be making $18 million and pitch like crap.”
Just a bad day at the office. It happens to all of us, right? Spoken like a man with an agent.
UPDATE: Here’s the full video of the interview courtesy of CSNChicago.com:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Zambrano’s grievance against the Cubs is expected to be heard soon. While he is currently on the disqualified list for 30 days without pay (which could cost him approximately $3 million), Zambrano is expected to argue for a much shorter penalty.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”