Results tagged ‘ Carlos Zambrano ’

11/1 Theo on Big Z, Ramirez & more

Theo Epstein says he would like to talk to Carlos Zambrano before deciding what the Cubs will do regarding the right-hander. Epstein did speak to Zambrano’s agent, Barry Praver. Zambrano was scheduled to pitch this weekend in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caribes, and threw 40 pitches on Tuesday in a side session. He has not pitched in a game since Aug. 12 when he left the Cubs game in Atlanta.

“I have had conversations with Barry Praver, Carlos’ representative, and that was an enlightening conversation,” Epstein said Tuesday. “I sat down with a number of guys who have been here, working alongside Carlos during his Cubs career. That was also enlightening. Now it’s just a matter of processing the information, putting it together, following up directly with Carlos and seeing what’s best for the Cubs. That’s what’s most important.”

* As for Aramis Ramirez, he still has to declare his side of the mutual option. The Cubs said they would pick up the $16 million option for next year. If Ramirez declines, as is expected, he will be a free agent.

“He had a terrific career with the Cubs while he was here,” Epstein said, talking in past tense about the third baseman. “We certainly wish him well in the future. I wouldn’t rule anything out but given his position as the top free agent third baseman, it’s certainly a likelihood that another team will make him a contract that appeals to him and we’ll be looking for different solutions.”

* On the topic of compensation between the Red Sox and Cubs for Epstein, he said MLB may give the two teams an extension. Tuesday was supposed to be the deadline for the two teams to finalize compensation. The Cubs and Padres also must determine compensation for Hoyer, but they have until early December.

 — Carrie Muskat

10/30 Big Z set for Venezuela

Carlos Zambrano has reportedly signed a contract to pitch for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League. Caribes GM Sam Moscatel told the Chicago Tribune that Zambrano signed a contract on Saturday, and was scheduled to start Nov. 6 against Magallanes.

“When he signed the contract, I told him, ‘Carlos, it’s a privilege for us that you are part of our team,” Moscatel told the Chicago Tribune. “We hope he plays here for the next eight or nine years.”

Whether he pitches again for the Cubs is still to be determined. Zambrano is under contract for 2012 with the team and owed $18 million next year. He has not pitched in a game since Aug. 12 in Atlanta, when he served up five homers, then was ejected after throwing inside to Chipper Jones. He was then placed on the restricted list for 30 days.

Zambrano, 30, was to throw a 30-pitch simulated game on Tuesday.

“Our stadium is going to be sold out, for sure, in his first start here [on Nov. 11],” Moscatel said. “It’s big news, in all the papers today. This is very exciting.”

— Carrie Muskat

10/27 Big Z to pitch in Venezuela – UPDATE

Carlos Zambrano’s next game could be this month in Venezuela. Zambrano was expected to pitch for Caribes in the Venezuelan Winter League. The right-hander’s season ended on Aug. 12 in Atlanta. He gave up five home runs in that game, then was ejected for throwing inside at Chipper Jones. Zambrano was placed on the 30-day restricted list and not paid during that time. He was eventually taken off that list, but there wasn’t enough time for him to get back in shape for the final few weeks of the season, and Zambrano never rejoined the Cubs.  Caribes also lists Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya, Marlins infielder Omar Infante and Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata on the roster. Former big leaguer Julio Franco is managing the team.

— Carrie Muskat

10/26 Epstein wants to meet with Z

The Cubs do need pitching for 2012, and Theo Epstein says he wants to talk to Carlos Zambrano before automatically dismissing the right-hander. Zambrano was placed on the restricted list after leaving the Turner Field clubhouse in Atlanta Aug. 12 and telling teammates he was retiring. In September, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said he’d have trouble picturing Zambrano pitching again for the team. The right-hander is owed $19 million for next year and has a full no-trade clause.

“I need to get to the bottom of that,” Epstein said Tuesday during an interview on Chicago Tribune Live. “I think the best organizations get the most out of their players, even the ones that might be harder to get the most out of it. But the best organizations also know when it’s time to move on.”

Zambrano was 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 24 starts, totaling 145 2/3 innings for the Cubs.

“He’s got talent,” Epstein said of the right-hander. “Obviously, things haven’t gone the way he would have liked or the organization would have liked the last few years.”

What about Bryan LaHair? He hit 38 homers at Triple-A Iowa this year and was batting .308 with six homers, nine RBIs in 10 games for Magallanes in Venezuela Winter League. He’s also struck out 14 times.

“I have a soft spot for guys who hit everywhere they’ve ever been — hit, hit, hit and continue to hit,” Epstein said. “There’s this myth about the 4-A hitter. Guys who perform all the way up the Minor Leagues, dominate Triple-A, get a cup of coffee, they hit a buck-fifty in the big leagues, and everybody labels them a 4-A hitter.

“The reality is, I’m not so sure there is something called a 4-A hitter. It’s just [a] pretty good Major League hitter who never got an opportunity.”

Perhaps LaHair will get a chance.

“We’re looking for assets,” Epstein said. “We’re going to scratch and claw and do everything in our power — in the draft, internationally, small trades, waiver claims. We need to build assets because we don’t have enough of them. We’re not going to look past one that might be sitting right there in our organization.”

— Carrie Muskat

10/2 Zambrano to Marlins?

With Ozzie Guillen leaving the White Sox to manage the Marlins, there has been speculation that Carlos Zambrano will join him in Florida. The two Venezuelans are close and have helped each other’s charities. It’s no secret the Cubs want to find Zambrano a new home after his early exit from the Aug. 12 game against the Braves when he told teammates he was “retiring.”  According to a report in Venezuela’s El Nacional by reporter Ignacio Serrano, Guillen has reached out to Zambrano and wants to bring him to Miami. Zambrano is owed $18 million next season on his contract, and the report says the Marlins would pay that money in deferred payments. Whether the Cubs can make that move before they name a new GM remains to be seen, but such a deal would benefit both sides. During the team’s final road trip, Mike Quade was asked if Big Z could return. “I don’t know,” Quade said. “That’s a tough question for me to answer. I’d like his arm back if he fit into the mix. It would be tough for him to come back, for me. If he did, then you deal with it. It would be tough.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/29 Z back on 40-man; Berg, Schlitter DFA

Pitchers Justin Berg and Brian Schlitter were designated for assignment by the Cubs on Thursday, and pitcher Carlos Zambrano was added to the 40-man roster. Zambrano was taken off the 40-man roster when the Cubs determined that he would not be returning to the team for the final month. On Sept. 2, the Cubs announced Zambrano would not return after his 30-day suspension ended but that they would resume paying his salary. The suspension ran through Sept. 11. Zambrano was taken off the 40-man roster at that time so the Cubs weren’t limited in the number of players they had available.

The right-hander was suspended after his early exit from Turner Field on Aug. 12. In that game against the Braves, he gave up five home runs, then was ejected because umpire Tim Timmons felt Zambrano was trying to hit Chipper Jones. Zambrano packed his gear and left the ballpark, telling teammates he was retiring. The Cubs placed Zambrano on the disqualified list on Aug. 13. He finished 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 24 starts.

The Major League Players Association filed a grievance on Zambrano’s behalf, which is still unresolved. Major League Baseball, the Players Association and the Cubs will process the grievance this offseason.

Schlitter was first activated from the 60-day disabled list before he was designated. He missed the 2011 season because of a right elbow injury. Berg underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in late September.

— Carrie Muskat

9/21 Could Z return? Q: “It’d be tough”

One of the things on the new Cubs’ GM’s to do list will be to figure out what to do with Carlos Zambrano. He was placed on the disqualified list after his abrupt departure from the ballpark Aug. 12 in Atlanta.

“‘Z’ was a good pitcher in this mix and you miss that,” Mike Quade said Wednesday. “Again, the situation dictated how we handled it as far as I’m concerned and you move on past that. You can argue all day long on principle, or, ‘What are we going to do?’ I think what took place needed to be addressed and was, and whatever holes are left because of that, so be it.”

Zambrano does have another year remaining on his contract. Could he come back to the Cubs?

“I’m not calling the shots,” Quade said. “I never say never to anything and I think [Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts] is on record with what he said. That’s out of my hands and the least of my worries. We need to finish strong and see what happens this winter.”

Maybe the question is whether Quade thinks Zambrano could come back.

“I don’t know,” Quade said. “That’s a tough question for me to answer. I’d like his arm back if he fit into the mix. It would be tough for him to come back, for me. If he did, then you deal with it. It would be tough.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/2 Zambrano done for the year

Carlos Zambrano will not rejoin the Cubs the rest of the season. The team announced Friday that Zambrano will remain at home for the remainder of this season and the team will resume paying him his salary at the end of the 30-day suspension. The suspension runs through Sept. 11, leaving Zambrano “insufficient preparation time” to pitch again this year.

Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Cubs will process the Union’s grievance during the offseason. The Cubs said in a statement that since the grievance remains unresolved, they will not comment further at this time.

In his last start for the Cubs on Aug. 12, Zambrano served up five home runs to the Braves and was then ejected in the fifth for trying to hit Chipper Jones with a pitch. Zambrano packed up his gear, told teammates he was retiring, and then left Turner Field. A few days later, Zambrano changed his story and said he made the comments out of frustration. He was placed on the disqualified list on Aug. 13, and without pay. For the season, Zambrano went 9-7 with a 4.82 ERA. If he is done with the Cubs, he finishes with a 125-81 record and 3.60 ERA. He  was making $17.875 million, so he lost about $3 million while on the disqualified list. Zambrano is owed $18 million next year.

— Carrie Muskat 

8/22 Report: Pena on waivers

According to reports, Carlos Pena was placed on waivers on Monday. Pena, 33, was hitting .222 with 23 homers in 480 plate appearances for the Cubs. If a team were to pick him up, they would have to be prepared to handle at least $5 million of his $10 million contract. Half of Pena’s total money was deferred until January 2012.

Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano also have cleared waivers, according to reports. Soriano is owed slightly more than $54 million through 2014. Zambrano is a little more complicated. He reportedly cleared waivers before he was placed on the disqualified list and is owed $18 million next season. There is a 2013 vesting player option for $19.25 million.

To be traded after the July 31 Trading Deadline, a player must be placed on waivers. If more than one team claims the player, the team with the weakest record in the player’s league gets preference. If no team in the player’s league claims him, the claiming team with the weakest record in the other league gets preference. If a player is claimed, the current team has the option of arranging a trade, rescinding the request and keeping the player, or doing nothing and allowing the claiming team to assme the player’s existing contract.

— Carrie Muskat


8/21 Must see TV

If Carlos Zambrano was watching Sunday night’s ESPN baseball broadcast, he would have learned that it’s unlikely he’ll be back in a Cubs uniform. In an interview, chairman Tom Ricketts said he had a “hard time imagining” Zambrano pitching for the team again. Zambrano is currently on the disqualified list after his early exit from Turner Field on Aug. 12. Zambrano gave up five home runs that night, was ejected in the fifth inning after hitting Chipper Jones with a pitch, then packed his gear and left the ballpark. He told teammates he was retiring, and later recanted that story in an interview.

There have been plenty of distractions for the Cubs lately.

“The day to day activity here is probably a good thing,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade, who is taking it one day at a time. “It doesn’t allow you the time to sit back. You’re just consumed with what goes on here every day. I wind up saying, ‘It’s baseball,’ and then go about my business.”

— Carrie Muskat