It was over four years ago the last time we heard from Carlos Zambrano. At that time it had been two years since he had last pitched, he had ditched a comeback attempt and said he was happily retired and at peace without baseball in his life.
Things change. Flash forward to 2018 and his agent, Barry Praver, tells Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that Big Z would like to pitch in the major leagues again. Which, hey, OK!
It’s not at all likely to happen, however. He has reportedly lost 30 pounds since his big league days and is pitching in the Venezuelan winter league after pitching in the Mexican League earlier this year, but his results have been fairly terrible. Between that, a six-year big league layoff and the fact that, when he was in the bigs, he ticked off basically everyone he ever encountered, the odds of anyone giving him a chance are beyond slim. Indeed, I’d say zero.
The crazy thing about it is that Zambrano is still only 37 years-old. That makes him younger than Rich Hill. Younger than Adrian Beltre, Fernando Rodney, Ben Zobrist and, if my cursory look is correct, about 31 other players who were active in 2018. Still, heavy workloads early in Zambrano’s career caught up to him, as he failed to crack 200 innings after age 26, ceased being an effective pitcher at age 29, and last appeared in the majors at age 31.
Still: he earned nearly $115 million for his career and made three All-Star games, posting a 3.66 ERA in 1,959 innings. He may not have a comeback in him, but he did OK for himself before he left.