Carlos Zambrano on demotion to bullpen: “It’s not my role, but I have to do it”

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All things considered Carlos Zambrano reacted pretty well to the Marlins demoting him to the bullpen yesterday.

Not only didn’t he destroy any Gatorade coolers, his quotes about the situation were perfectly reasonable:

It’s not my role, but I have to do it. There is no other choice. If they put me in the bullpen, they put me in the bullpen. I have to keep doing my job, and keep trying to come back and being in the rotation again. The Cubs tried to do that to me, put me in the bullpen. It didn’t work. My arm is not built to be in the bullpen, but I have to do it. I’m at a stage in my career where I’ve been my whole life as a starter. But I have to do it. I will do it until somebody remembers me.

Zambrano saying that his arm “is not built to be in the bullpen” is interesting, because at first glance he seems like exactly the type of pitcher who might thrive as a reliever late in his career. He still throws hard, but poor control and a diminishing strikeout rate have combined to make him an ineffective starter. Working out of the bullpen tends to fix those problems for a lot of pitchers and while Zambrano’s durability as a starter was once enough of a strength that shifting him to a one-inning role didn’t make sense, that’s no longer the case either.

Dating back to the beginning of last season Zambrano has a 4.67 ERA and 187/123 K/BB ratio in 262 innings spread over 44 starts.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.