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Big Z, Big Mess. Now What?

By bullpenbrian at 08.13.2011 2 comments.

My goodness…where to begin?

Just when I thought Mike Quade was saving his job with a (14-12) record since the All Star break, the wheels came off yet again.

The Cubs may not lose 100-games this season, but they’ll come close. Trouble is, there’s a larger problem at stake for Mike Quade.

The skipper, if he hasn’t already, is losing the support and respect of his players. And if there’s anything worse than a 100-loss season for a manager, losing the clubhouse is it.

You can’t shoulder all the blame on Quade for Zambrano’s meltdown. Carlos has always been a ticking time-bomb, a selfish player and disrespectful of the entire organization.

Cubs ownership and Jim Hendry are most at fault for allowing Zambrano another opportunity to embarrasses the team. For it’s been the Cubs, not just Quade, who’s permitted Carlos’ childish behavior.

In fact, I think Quade handled the situation very well following Friday’s game. He didn’t let Carlos off the hook and he stuck up for his players.

How much that resonates in the clubhouse, I don’t know? But chances are, it falls on deaf ears with an entire room full of players fed-up with losing and poisonous distractions.

The knee-jerk reaction is to say Zambrano’s latest fit is the straw that breaks both Quade’s and Hendry’s back.

The season is a hot-mess, the clubhouse disgruntled, the fans disheartened. Whatever Quade had going for him in the season’s second half is likely over.

The only alternative to axing both the manager and GM after September is a rallying cry from the players, otherwise known as a winning record from here on out. Raise your hand if you think that will happen. 

+++

Allow me to speak for everyone who said ‘I told you so’ when Zambrano cleared out his locker and stormed out of Turner Field.

Zambrano has long been a player I thought the Cubs should move, if for no other reason than his poor attitude, which was on display again Friday night.

But the window to move Z tightly shut after his latest fit-throwing tantrum. And I’ve never known of a contender in need of a raging knucklehead to joins its rotation.

I heavily criticized Mike Qaude for pitching Zambrano a few weeks before the trading deadline knowing the pitcher wasn’t feeling 100-percent healthy.

At the time, the Cubs were far out of the race, and Zambrano’s trade value never higher than before. But Quade decided to pitch him anyway.

Zambrano, of course, lasted less than two innings before landing on the 15-day DL. Trade value zero. You lose. Please play again.

Furthermore, the worse case scenario is fittingly coming to fruition. Zambrano’s gone AWOL, threating retirement and leaving his teammates out to dry–a cardinal sin in the baseball world.

Now what?

Allowing Zambrano to return to the club is utterly ridiculous…a sure-bet impossibility. The Cubs have enough problems without Z, even the mild mannered one.

The time to move on from Zambrano is way overdue. The Cubs biggest mistake, however, was letting Carlos make the decision on his own terms.

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2 Comments

  1. The Cubs can only hope that this retirement is real. The last thing they need is to pay Zambrano $18+ million to stay home.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Yep, ideally Zambrano retires and walks away from the Cubs. But it’s never been that easy with ‘Z. I don’t suspect he’ll retire, or the Cubs welcome him back, which leaves me to believe one of two options for Zambrano’s future. a.) Z clears waivers and Hendry finds a taker for him. b.) Carlos is simply released following the 30-day suspension. We’ll see what happens, but I can’t wait for the Cubs to wash their hands from this mess.

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