If you stop to think about it, this end to Carlos Zambrano’s career with the Cubs was about as appropriate an end as one could possibly have dreamt up. And let’s not pretend there is a scenario on God’s green earth that involves Carlos Zambrano throwing another pitch for the Cubs ever again.
For those who are just catching up because they managed to turn off the ass-kicking at the hands of the Braves, Carlos Zambrano gave up five homeruns in his outing tonight, tying a team record and joining only Ismael Valdez and Steve Stone as Cubs pitchers who have accomplished the feat since 1955 (I don’t know why that arbitrary endpoint was chosen by Stats, Inc., but it was). So that’s pretty bad. Historically bad, as it turns out (which still seems like that list should include Frank Castillo or Don Wengert or Ruben Quevedo or someone).
After the fifth homerun, Zambrano got a visit from Mark Riggins and they talked about Atlanta traffic patterns or whatever it is that Mark Riggins talks about when he goes out there to visit his pitchers. Riggins then left and Zambrano proceeded to throw at Chipper Jones and get ejected.
Apparently, Zambrano then went into the locker room, cleaned out his locker, and left the clubhouse, reportedly telling those there at the time that he was retiring. So he basically pulled a Sammy Sosa, except with a bit more flair.
It’s like Christmas has come early for Sullivan, Gordo, Kaplan, and Rosenbloom.
The bitch about the way this has all played out is that Zambrano has pretty much lost anyone who previously defended him. This act was pretty indefensible. Believe me, I sympathize with Carlos, but I can’t back him on this move. This was a total dick move on his part.
It became pretty clear that he was hoping for a trade when he let it be known that he would agree to a trade if the Cubs could find a taker. He wasn’t doing that out of the goodness of his heart to help the Cubs move forward. He was doing it because he was done with being a Cub. He wanted out and they couldn’t find anyone to take him.
So he was playing out the string for a manager he probably doesn’t like all that much and probably respects even less. He was playing with teammates that have not had his back for quite some time now (not that I completely blame them). He is, pretty undeniably, a loon. So after having an embarassing night pitching for a team that he doesn’t care about any longer and that no longer cares for him, he snapped and walked out. The best thing that can be said about it is that he seemingly snapped and walked out in a calm and quiet manner. So, I get the frustration and the feeling that he is pretty much alone out there as all this happens, but you simply don’t walk out on your teammates. Unless you are Ryne Sandberg.
No matter what happens now, Zambrano almost has to be done as a Cub. If he sticks to his guns and actually retires, the Cubs might actually use some of the money they save over the next couple of years to throw him a bitchin’ going away party. But I somehow doubt that will happen.
Z is guaranteed whatever is left of his $18+ million for this year, the $19 million for next year, and then there is an option involved for 2013. That is a lot of damn money, and even if Zambrano wants to tell the Ricketts to take their money and shove it up their ass to go with the silver spoon, he has an agent that will talk him out of it, and a players’ union that might have something to say about him walking away from that much guaranteed cash. So I don’t think this retirement thing is going to stick.
Likewise, I don’t think the Cubs can go through the whole Zambrano-apologizes-and-gets-therapy-and-serves-a-suspension-and-then-returns-to-the-rotation thing again. Zambrano’s talent simply doesn’t demand that they put up with this shit from him on a recurring basis.
This little act left Quade rocking back and forth like a mental patient himself:
What else is left except to release him?
The only question is whether the Cubs can negotiate some sort of severance that gives Zambrano a good chunk of his money to just be free and clear of the Cubs, but saves the Cubs the full amount that they owe him.
So that’s about it. We had a lot of fun while it lasted, Z. I hope you’re wearing flame-retardant underwear because the torches are out and the media will be waving them in your direction pretty soon if they haven’t already beat this post. This time I can’t say you don’t deserve it, but I just wish you could have held it together for a bit longer. Maybe that just isn’t possible for you.
So long, you crazy bastard.