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Zambrano, Wood & Maddux

By bullpenbrian at 03.09.2011 Leave a comment.

1.) Zambrano is on the right track, for now.
2.) Which Cub teammate did Kerry Wood fight?
3.) Greg Maddux McNutt.

1.) Cubs fans have had every right to be angered with Carlos Zambrano. Not only did his immaturity squander some of his best years, but it squashed the Cubs’ clubhouse chemistry and regularly embarrassed the organization. All this for $91.5 million bucks?

I’ve been particularly hard on Z, given his dizzying bouts of silly business, to the point where I’d be fine seeing the Cubs trade him. But that doesn’t mean I’m rooting against him, either.

Since last year’s meltdown Zambrano is taking all the right steps to reshape his reputation. He’s appeared more focused on the mound and acted a professional off it.

I’ll even go as far to say it’s a good start. But what I hope Zambrano understands is that this behavior must continue through the entire season, not just in Arizona.

This isn’t about waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s about holding Carlos responsible for his actions and performance, just like the rest of the Cubs.

2.) Kerry Wood admitted to fighting a former Cubs teammate. But what he didn’t say is more intriguing. Who, What, When, Where & Why!

According to Wood, the skirmish happened early in his career, but otherwise, the Texan conveniently fails to remember further details. Unfortunately, that leaves us to speculate which Cubs teammate is the guilty party. So here are some guesses:

-Sammy Sosa: perhaps Wood was a threat to Sosa’s stardom?
-Gary Gaetti: did the 39-year-old vet have a few choice words for the 21-year-old rook?
-Rod Beck: did the care-free closer get under the skin of an overzealous Wood?
-Mark Grace: would Gracie actually go fisticuffs with Woody?

3.) Last year I said Jim Hendry’s signing of Greg Maddux as an assistant to the GM was the best deal of the Cubs offseason.  Pitching prospect Trey McNutt is showing us why.

Under the tutelage of Maddux, the young right-hander has quickly climbed the latter in the minor leagues. The ultimate pitcher is teaching the hard-throwing 21-year-old how to be a pitcher vs. a thrower. McNutt is taking the lessons to heart, taking heat off his fastball and focusing more on location. The early results have pushed McNutt onto the Cubs spring radar.

The Cubs should do everything in its power to keep Maddux on the payroll. Surely, McNutt will be the first of many young pitcher to benefit from Maddux’s keen ability to pass along his knowledge.

Good teams win with pitching, and having Greg Maddux around can only help.

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