Time for Zambrano to move on

June, 6, 2011
6/06/11
10:39
AM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CINCINNATI -- The best thing for the Chicago Cubs and Carlos Zambrano would be a quick trade. After Sunday's blowup in St. Louis, Zambrano and the Cubs would probably welcome one.

[+] EnlargeCarlos Zambrano
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastLast week, Carlos Zambrano directed his anger at a bat. On Sunday, he directed it at his teammates.
What Zambrano said about the Cubs' play and Carlos Marmol's ill-fated pitch to Ryan Theriot is all true.

However Cubs general manager Jim Hendry was not pleased with the way Zambrano presented it after the loss.

"Marmol has been outstanding for us for a long time," Hendry said. "He's just going through a rough patch right now. Everybody is frustrated [with losing]. Sometimes things boil over but you have to be a better teammate than that."

The Cubs are indeed a team with a lot of Triple-A players due to injuries.

Catcher Koyie Hill maybe said it best after Sunday's loss. Hill said a Triple-A team may give the Cubs a run for their money the way they have been playing.

Zambrano, much like he did last June in the dugout at U.S. Cellular Field, was voicing personal frustration as well as trying to fire up his team after their 3-2 loss to the Cardinals in 10 innings Sunday. Unfortunately, he chose to do it through the media rather than a team meeting with the other 24 players.

Zambrano was angered by Marmol's pitch selection to Theriot and the fact that he lost a chance at winning his sixth game of the season. Earlier in the week Marmol, who entered Sunday's game with a team record 25 1/3 inning scoreless streak on the road, blew a save for Zambrano, allowing a career-high six runs in the ninth inning of a 7-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Tuesday. But after that game, Zambrano took the high road and was the first player to tell Marmol to forget about it and that everyone believed in him and knew that he would get the job done the next time out.

That was certainly the thoughtful Zambrano who apparently had learned a lot from going through anger management classes for eight months.

The Cubs' best move would be to let all 29 teams to know Zambrano is available in the right deal. Although he has a complete no-trade clause, the time is right for Zambrano to move on. As a friend of Zambrano's said to me on Sunday, "At this point Carlos would probably let the Cubs trade him to Siberia."

The New York Yankees are the right team for Zambrano. He likes the big stage, and he has former pitching coach Larry Rothschild there to make the transition as seamless as possible. Rothschild was Cubs pitching coach for nine seasons and for most of those years he got the best out of Zambrano.

In return the Cubs could ask for pitcher Joba Chamberlain or outfielder Brett Gardner along with some good minor league talent. The Cubs owe Zambrano roughly $30 million over the next year and 2/3 of his contract. For the Yankees, that's chump change. The Steinbrenner family wouldn't think twice about spending that kind of money on a quality arm that could help them beat the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees scouted Cubs pitching all spring, mostly concentrating on Carlos Silva, whom they eventually signed to a minor league contract after he was released by the Cubs. It won't take the Yankees or any of the other big market teams long to start sniffing around Clark and Addison.

For the good of the Cubs and for Zambrano, it's time for him to move on for a parade of good young talent.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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