Cubs' Carlos Zambrano Will Be Paid When Suspension Ends, But Not Pitch Again In 2011

Carlos Zambrano won't pitch for the Cubs for the remainder of 2011, but will be paid. Will he ever pitch for them again? No one's saying.

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Cubs' Carlos Zambrano To Get Paid To Stay Home For Rest Of Season

Two tweets from Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi tell the story of the 2011 future of Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano:

#Cubs: Carlos Zambrano will remain at home for the remainder of the 2011 baseball season.less than a minute ago via txt Favorite Retweet Reply

#Cubs will resume paying Zambrano his salary at the end of the 30-day suspension, on Sept. 11.less than a minute ago via txt Favorite Retweet Reply

This likely ends Zambrano’s Cubs career, as team chairman Tom Ricketts stated during an interview on ESPN’s Sunday night Cubs/Cardinals telecast on Aug. 21 that he “couldn’t imagine” Big Z pitching for the Cubs again. It means that either interim GM Randy Bush, or whoever gets hired as Cubs GM to replace Jim Hendry, will do his best to trade Zambrano somewhere before the 2012 season begins, most likely eating a large portion of the $18 million remaining on his deal (there’s an option for 2013, but Zambrano has not met the qualifications for vesting).

Zambrano was the Cubs’ most consistent starter until 2009, when he began to suffer various injuries. His behavior also got him off the team twice in the last two years, including time spent on the restricted list in 2010, when he was also sent to anger management counseling. He has a 125-81 career record with a 3.60 ERA in ten Cubs seasons and will be 31 years old in 2012; some team will likely think they can “fix” him and take a chance by trading for him.

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Carlos Zambrano Apologizes, Says He Wants To Stay With Cubs

On Monday, the Chicago CubsCarlos Zambrano, still on the disqualified list pending the hearing of a grievance filed on his behalf by the MLB Players’ Association, granted an exclusive interview to CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan. In it, he apologized for walking out on the team and said he didn’t mean to throw at Chipper Jones on Friday night. When asked if he wanted to stay a Cub, he replied:

Of course. The Cubs have been to me like my family. They’re my family. The organization is like family. I’ve seen people go and people come, you know I still there. It’s like if my father say I dont want nothing to do with you I think that would never happen. He’s my family. I want to keep pitching for the Cubs. [It was a] moment of frustration Friday night. I feel so bad that I want to retire. I don’t want to be making $18 million and be pitching like crap.

It could be said that you don’t walk out on your family, just as you shouldn’t walk out on your teammates. Zambrano claimed the two pitches that got him ejected were “cutters”. Still, Zambrano’s behavior cannot be seen in a vacuum — he has had several meltdowns over the past four years, including one in 2010 that put him on the restricted list and got him anger-management counseling.

Cubs management appears fed up to the point that Zambrano is not wanted any more; perhaps the best-case scenario for both parties would be a negotiated settlement of the year-plus remaining on his deal for an amount more than zero, but less than the (approximately) $20 million remaining due him; he’d then be allowed to leave as a free agent.

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Carlos Zambrano Files Grievance About Suspension

The Chicago CubsCarlos Zambrano, who was put on the disqualified list by the team over the weekend after he walked out on them after Friday night’s game, has filed a grievance over the suspension, with paperwork expected to be completed today, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports.

Players on the disqualified list do not get paid for 30 days and cannot have any contact with the team. Zambrano, however, told Chicago sportscaster David Kaplan that he was sorry and did not mean to hit Chipper Jones, and that he wanted to come back and apologize Saturday, and did not mean it when he said he was “retiring”.

Zambrano has had a history of blowups and meltdowns over the last several seasons, including a dugout tirade against then-teammate Derrek Lee in 2010 that got him placed on the restricted list and anger management counseling. It appears that Cubs management is fed up with him to the point that they no longer want him on the team. Over the weekend, MLB sent out a press release that said that during the suspension:

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association will discuss recent statements attributed to Zambrano regarding his baseball future.

It’s possible that the Cubs, the MLBPA and Zambrano and his agent might work out a buyout of the final season of his contract, set to expire after 2012 (it has a vesting option for 2013 whose conditions Zambrano is unlikely to meet), and make him a free agent.

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PRESS RELEASE: MLB On Carlos Zambrano Suspension

Major League Baseball's official press release:

The Chicago Cubs have placed right-handed pitcher Carlos Zambrano on the disqualified list, effective immediately.

The disqualified list includes a period of 30 days without pay and no activity with the ball club. During this time, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association will discuss recent statements attributed to Zambrano regarding his baseball future.

Zambrano was ejected from last night's start in Atlanta after allowing eight runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings, matching the franchise record for five home runs allowed in an appearance. He was charged with the loss in Chicago's 10-4 setback. Zambrano is 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA (78 ER/145.2 IP) in 24 starts for the Cubs this season.

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Carlos Zambrano Suspended By Cubs For 30 Days

There's no word yet about Carlos Zambrano's long-term future, but Paul Sullivan's got news about the short term:

Cubs place Z on disqualified list. 30 days w/o pay. Can't be w/ teamless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

 

Of course, this isn't even Zambrano's first stint on the DQL; last summer, he spent roughly five weeks on the Disqualified List after throwing a tantrum in the dugout while getting hammered by the White Sox.

During his time off, Zambrano underwent anger-management training ... and it actually seemed to work, as Zambrano returned to the roster in late July and went 8-0 with a 1.58 ERA the rest of the way.

This season? Not so much. Zambrano's temper seems to have been mostly in control this season -- until Friday night, anyway -- but his performance hasn't been there, which quite possibly contributed to this latest meltdown.

For Zambrano, 30 days means $3 million, and the Players Association is almost sure to file a grievance unless Zambrano carries through on his threat (offer?) to retire. Which he almost surely will not, considering his $18 million salary in 2012.

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Cubs Talking To Carlos Zambrano's Agent Following Retirement Episode

Friday night, Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano turned in a miserable start against the Atlanta Braves that saw him allow eight runs and five homers. Zambrano was ejected after throwing at Chipper Jones, and when he went to the clubhouse, he cleaned out his locker and apparently told some people he was retiring. Then he left.

Confused? So are the Cubs. That's why they're talking with Zambrano's agent, trying to figure out what's going on. Paul Sullivan:

The Cubs are in talks with Zambrano's agent, trying to find out what Zambrano was actually thinking after walking out of the clubhouse Friday night and telling Cubs personnel he plans to retire.

Zambrano hasn't filled out and submitted any retirement papers, which is the official process. There's no word right now on any other details, but the presumption is that, if the situation isn't cleared up shortly, the Cubs will place Zambrano on the restricted list for the second time in two seasons. Last year he went on the restricted list while undergoing anger management.

Zambrano owns a 4.82 ERA through 24 starts, with 101 strikeouts and 56 walks. He is not a good pitcher, but he is under contract for a lot of money in 2012, which makes this such an interesting situation.

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Carlos Zambrano Ejected, Says He's Retired After Rough Outing

Carlos Zambrano reportedly cleaned out his locker and told people he was retired after a rough outing on Friday night. Was he serious or was this frustration talking?

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