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Less Z, More Cubbie Occurrence

By bullpenbrian - August 15, 2011 - 2:33 am Leave a comment.

You have to believe there’s a smile on the faces of Jim Edmonds, Michael Barrett and Derrek Lee–all of whom have had nasty encounters with Big Z.

Until Hendry slapped Zambrano on the 30-day disqualified list on Saturday, the pitcher had basically escape those confrontations scot-free–despite the fact Carlos was the guilty party on each occasion.

Now that Carlos has dug a hole he can’t climb out of, at least in the short-term, his rivals can whaler in the pleasure of seeing him swim in his self created mud bath.

But I figure the three former Cubs probably share our feelings about Zambrano more so than feelings of revenge against him. No one is surprised, just saddened and exhausted by Zambrano’s continuous antics.

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Is this the end of Derrek Lee’s career?

The Pirates placed Lee on the 15-day DL with a fractured left wrist on Saturday.

Leave it to Carlos Marmol to end Lee’s season, and possible his career, when he struck Derrek on the wrist with a pitch on August 3.

Lee played just five games with Pittsburgh since being acquired during the July 31 trade deadline. He managed five hits, two of which were HRs in his debut, and 3 RBI.

Where the 35-year-old ends up next season is anyone’s guess.

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In another Cubbie occurrence. Former Cub Jason Marquis was knocked out of his Sunday start, literally, by another former Cub and now Met, Angel Pagan, who smashed a come-backer off Marquis’ right fibula.

Marquis is out a minimum of 4-6 weeks, although it doesn’t appear a huge loss to Arizona’s hopes of winning the west division. Marquis is (0-2) with a 12.38 ERA since joining the D-Backs via trade from Washington.

What it does prove, however, is an opening in Arizona’s starting rotation. Hmmm…could  Big Z be the next Big Cactus?

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Anyone notice the Brewers have the second best record in the NL, tied with Atlanta’s (70-51) record?

Milwaukee is 25-9 since July 6, which is the best record in the Major Leagues, and have a solid 5.0 games cushion over St. Louis in the Central.

The next four series for the Brewers are against teams with below .500 records, including the Cubs. And if Milwaukee can improve its lead by one or two more games heading into September, the likelihood of St. Louis catching them is slim to none.

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Big Z On The Big ‘DL’

By bullpenbrian - August 14, 2011 - 1:11 am Leave a comment.

Can’t say I remember the last time the Cubs placed a player on the DL, as in ‘Disqualified List’…not the disabled list.

Apparently it’s the same list our favorite former hot-head, Milton Bradley, landed on in 2009 with Chicago…but it seems I only remember that as a being labeled a suspension. Nevertheless…

As Paul Sullivan of the Tribune put it “In a virtual reenactment of the end of Milton Bradley’s Cubs career, the players had few positive things to say about what might have been Zambrano’s last act with the team.”

According to the MLB Rule book: Disqualified list includes those who play with or against a club which during the current season has had a connection with an ineligible player or person; and the Ineligible list collects those involved with attempts to throw games, bribe players or umpires, or bet on games, and those convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude.

Moral turpitude seems to sum up Zambrano nicely. He’s obviously well deserving of the list and left Jim Hendry no other immediate choice but to release him.

The 30-days suspension without pay is meaningless for Zambrano. But it does give the Cubs some time to think through its next move for the troubled pitcher.

Releasing Carlos is still a viable option, of course, but maybe Zambrano does decide to retire letting the Cubs off the hook for the rest of his super-sized contract, which is easily worth waiting 30 days for.

It’s also possible another team could be interested in acquiring Z. The Mariners, after all, traded for Milton Bradley. And if Z clears waivers, there’s a chance Hendry could move him in September, although Z wouldn’t be playoff eligible for any contenders.

Whatever the case may be, Carlos returning to the Cubs, this season or beyond, should not be considered. How could it be?

I can’t even imagine a scenario where Zambrano pitches another game for the Chicago Cubs.

Heaven help us if he does.

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Chris Jaffe of the Hardball Times talks about Zambrano and The ALL Time HR List For Pitchers.

For now, here are the top ten all-time at hitting homers while pitching:

HR    Pitcher
37    Wes Ferrell
35    Bob Lemon
35    Warren Spahn
34    Red Ruffing
33    Earl Wilson
29    Don Drysdale
24    Bob Gibson
24    John Clarkson
23    Walter Johnson
23    Carlos Zambrano

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Big Z, Big Mess. Now What?

By bullpenbrian - August 13, 2011 - 2:01 am 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.

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Zambrano Will Stay A Cub

By bullpenbrian - July 17, 2011 - 3:07 am 1 comment.

Carlos Zambrano assured himself he’ll be a Cub in 2012 with Saturday’s drubbing of 8 runs in 4.2 innings. The outing virtually lowers Zambrano’s trade value to zero.

No GM can justify taking on Z’s huge contract when Carlos’ head simply isn’t in the game, which was evident Saturday, and Z said so himself:

“I felt good, my fastball was good, my arm, body (were) good. Intelligence? Not good. Bad pitches to Stanton twice.”

That’s not the kind of risk favorable for contenders down the stretch.

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Speaking of trade value, Aramis Ramirez is a must-have for contenders in need of offense.

His three-run shot Saturday, his 16th of the year, gives him 14 HR and 38 RBI over his last 36 games.

Furthermore, he’s gone deep in 7 of his last 8 games…and 11 of his last 21 games. It’s safe to say Ramirez’s trade value may never be higher.

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More signs the Cubs are an awful team…eight of the Marlins 13 runs scored with two outs…while the defense committed two more errors giving them 81 for the season–a major league worst.

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What a display of power hitting by Mike Stanton! Two oppage jobs deep into the bleachers, neither aided by wind. He’s a special kind of talent, one that should stay right in step with Starlin Castro’s climb to stardom.

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I’ve often thought Javier Vazquez is one of the most under appreciated pitchers in the game. He’s spent 14 seasons in the bigs, never been on the DL, and continues to be a strikeout machine at age 34.

He’s started 30-plus games in 11 of 13 full seasons with a record of (157-157). I’m not saying he’s a great pitcher…just not fully appreciated.

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Marlins outfielder, Bryan Petersen, reminds me of a young Steve Finley!

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Great camera work by WGN to catch Marlins reliever Edward Mujica napping in the second inning!

Like any true manager would, Bob Brenly called Mujica out on-air for his cat nap. But let’s face it, even Cubs fans were tuned out at that point.

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Starting ‘Big Z’ Risky Business

By bullpenbrian - July 1, 2011 - 2:05 am Leave a comment.

If Carlos Zambrano wasn’t 100-percent entering Thursday’s game, as noted by Mike Quade, why start him?

Is Zambrano not a prized trade piece, a guy who potentially brings the Cubs real value in return for a late July player swap?

The risk of asking Big Z to push through the pain is enormous. His trade value may never be higher, and his contract certainly isn’t getting any smaller.

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Trading Zambrano Never Better

By bullpenbrian - June 26, 2011 - 1:08 am Leave a comment.

Carlos Zambrano’s trade value has never been higher…and the Cubs’ chances to move him will never be better.

Yes, Carlos has lost some velocity. Yes, he’s thrown a lot of innings over his career. But the 30-year-old isn’t washed-up. There’s plenty left in Z’s tank to help out a contender.

His efforts Saturday night in Kansas City, again wasted by a lack of offense, seconds the motion—it’s time for the Cubs and Carlos to part ways.

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Big Props For Big Z

By bullpenbrian - April 3, 2011 - 12:03 am 4 comments.

Big props to Big Z for keeping his cool Saturday. Old Zambrano fumes after falling behind early. New Zambrano keeps his composer and keeps the Cubs in the game. It’s a solid first start, but the question remains…will Z stay the straight course?

Starlin Castro is the youngest current player in the majors (21 years, 10 days), but plays far beyond his years. His RBI double to RF in the eighth shows his maturity at the plate–going with the pitch instead of pulling the ball. This kid looks all kinds of special!

Nice outing from Kid ‘K”. One inning, two punchouts. No question Woody is back where he belongs.

Big first outing for Garza Sunday in the series’ rubber match. The big right-hander is sure to be jacked-up, but he must keep the butterflies to a minimum. You simply can’t open the season with a home series loss against Pittsburgh. Taking 2 of 3 will suffice.

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Dempster Right Choice For Opening Day

By bullpenbrian - February 22, 2011 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Mike Quade’s decision to name Ryan Dempster the Opening Day starter was an easy one. Dempster has both the talent and mental toughness it takes to be the stopper. Had it not been for the Cubs’ decision to coddle Carlos Zambrano’s fragile mentality, Dempster would have been the Opening Day starter three years ago. You know it, I know it, and Quade certainly knew it standing down the third base line.

What’s important is Quade’s choice is fair and well-informed. Dempster is the best candidate, he’s earned the honor and Quade handed him the job. Such practice is sure to boost the confidence in the clubhouse. No longer are the Cubs catering to Big Z, his huge contract and poor attitude. Just another sign there’s a new sheriff in town.

Presumably, the same strategy will apply throughout the locker room. And perhaps, this will raise a few eyebrows on certain players such as Fukudome and Soriano who have lacked in production but play because their contracts say so. Under Quade, at least it appears, the best man gets the gig. Wouldn’t we all agree, it’s about time.

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How Greinke Helps Cubs

By bullpenbrian - December 21, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

The Brewers’ trade for Zach Greinke is big-time. You win with strong starting pitching, and Milwaukee’s 1-2-3 punch of Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum and Greinke is awfully strong.

The Brewers, of course, gave up its young talent to land a true ace and Cy Young Award winner. But in a single move they’re right back in the hunt for the NL Central.

So what if Milwaukee gave up its future to compete now. I’d make the same trade in a split second.

The Giants, remember, won the World Series with barely any regular season offense. The Brew Crew, however, has plenty of offense to go with its revamped rotation.

Milwaukee finished fourth in the NL in runs scored, batting average and RBI. And, finished second in the league in home runs (182). That’s enough offense to win with in Milwaukee.

As far as the Cubs, the move turns up the offseason heat on Jim Hendry. No way the Cubs keep up with Cincy, St. Louis, and now Milwaukee, without adding another strong-arm to its rotation.

Signing Brandon Webb is a must, but hardly counters Milwaukee’s move of Greinke. Trading Carlos Zambrano for a starter is a no brainer, but also seems unlikely. Is Matt Garza the answer or is it time the Cubs part with some younger talent for a true ace?

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Trading Zambrano Poll

By bullpenbrian - November 26, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.
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