Chicago Cubs: Carlos Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano still loves Chicago, fans

September, 5, 2014
9/05/14
1:05
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Looking happy and refreshed, former Chicago Cubs controversial pitcher Carlos Zambrano made an appearance at Wrigley Field on Friday, one day before participating in a charity softball event.

"Every time I come to Chicago it's good to be here and feel the atmosphere of baseball," a smiling Zambrano said before the Cubs played the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Zambrano was a polarizing figure during his 11 years in Chicago from 2001-2011 as his tenure ended after former general manager Jim Hendry suspended him after a meltdown in Atlanta when he told Cubs coaches he was retiring.

"I don't play anymore," Zambrano joked. "It's not my fault. No one can complain to me."



Zambrano hasn't officially retired, but he's not exactly working his way back into pitching shape.

"I was playing catch the other day after five months," he said. "I felt like I was throwing a rock ... I think I can (still) hit."

Zambrano's time with the Cubs was mixed with success and plenty of controversy. From 2003 to 2008 he won at least 13 games a season but fights with teammates and other volatile moments on and off the field highlighted his tenure. There were a few Gatorade buckets that felt Zambrano's anger. But all that is in the past for him.

"Hundred twenty wins, good ERA, beside a bad episode, I love this town," Zambrano said. "I love the fans and this team."

We're not sure which "bad episode" he's referring to but despite Zambrano's checkered history with the Cubs he seems welcome within the organization. That's not the case for former Cub Sammy Sosa, who lives in the same city as Zambrano.

"Haven't talked to him in a while," Zambrano said. "I know he's in Miami."

There's still not a clear picture as to why Sosa isn't welcomed back. He had controversies as well but never fought teammates as openly as Zambrano did. Owner Tom Ricketts has said in the past that some mending of fences has to be done before there's a Sosa return.

As for Zambrano, he's not exactly following the Cubs but claims he'll be there when they "go to the World Series." He knows of their young talent.

"The other day I saw (Jorge) Soler," Zambrano said. "I saw him take an at-bat against (Jonathan) Broxton in Cincinnati. I liked what I saw, but I'm not a hitting coach."

Zambrano is content to "play golf and raise my kids" in Miami but is glad to be participating in the Larry A. Pogofsky Charity Softball Challenge on Saturday in Schamburg. He says he'll play catcher.

"I don't like to lose, remember," Zambrano declared with a wink.

Zambrano still wants to play in majors

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
10:27
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is still hoping to continue his career, according to his agent Barry Praver.

Zambrano, 32, last pitched in the major leagues for the Miami Marlins in 2012. He's a free agent and throwing in Venezuela for Navegantes del Magallanes. He's 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA in four starts.

"He is most definitely interested in continuing his career," Praver said on Monday from the GM meetings.

Zambrano pitched for the Cubs from 2001-2011, winning 125 games. A major league source says the Cubs have no interest in bringing Zambrano back to Chicago.

Zambrano was with the Philadelphia Phillies organization last season but his comeback stalled with a minor shoulder injury that ended his season prematurely. Praver says Zambrano is now healthy.

Zambrano's embattled Cubs career came to an end when the team suspended him for the final six weeks of the 2011 season. He was subsequently traded to the Marlins.

Asked if Zambrano would be open to attending a Cubs Convention -- if invited -- after retirement, Praver said: "I have no doubt that he would come. Carlos speaks very fondly of Chicago and Cubs fans."

This year's Classic lacking personality

May, 27, 2013
5/27/13
8:02
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Gone are the days when former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would instigate a near riot between Cubs and Sox fans before the Crosstown Classic.

The major buzz that once was a part of this 16-year-old interleague rivalry has been replaced by a more businesslike approach in this season’s four-game home-and-home matchup.

“I don’t think it is quite what it used to be,” said White Sox setup man Matt Thornton, who has participated in every Crosstown Classic since 2006. “I still think it means a lot, but for whatever the reason it doesn’t have the same feel to it.”

(Read full post)

Former teammates happy for Zambrano

May, 15, 2013
5/15/13
6:51
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- The news of Carlos Zambrano's return to professional baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies was not shocking to several former Chicago Cubs teammates.

Zambrano signed a minor-league deal with the Phillies on Tuesday. The contract gives no assurances Zambrano will make the major league roster. The 31-year-old pitcher
can opt out of his agreement with the Phillies in July if he has not been promoted to the 25-man roster.

"I always saw Zambrano when he was here in a good way," Soriano said. "I never saw anything about him fighting with his teammates. I am happy he got another job, and I hope he does great in Philly."

(Read full post)

Is the new-look Zambrano too passive now?

July, 16, 2012
7/16/12
12:45
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Carlos ZambranoSteve Mitchell/US PresswireCarlos Zambrano is less volatile this season, but his 4-7 record doesn't indicate a on-field success.
CHICAGO – Since Carlos Zambrano won't be pitching for the Miami Marlins in the upcoming series against the Cubs, his new look won't be on display for those who knew his old look all too well.

The high-energy former Cubs pitcher can still show intensity, but under new manager and friend Ozzie Guillen, Zambrano seems to have learned how to harness his inner demons for the benefit of himself and his teammates.

It comes too late for those in the Cubs' clubhouse, who witnessed the occasional counter-productive meltdown. That's not to say the right-hander wasn't productive during his 11 seasons with the Cubs, going 125-81 with a 3.60 ERA.

"I saw this man was like a bull when he goes to the ring," Guillen said Sunday in Miami. "He was just attacking people all over the place. I see it that way. He doesn't know who he's going to kill. Now he's more calm and I think maybe because he has matured a little more. Maybe (it's) because people aren't going to put up with his (nonsense) anymore."

Guillen didn't say "nonsense," of course. He dropped an unflattering expletive, showing that he knew exactly what he was getting into when the Marlins traded for him this winter.

What the Marlins have received in return is mixed. In 17 starts (before Monday) Zambrano was 4-7, hardly impressive but run support gets some of the blame. He has a 4.20 ERA, not exactly eye-popping, but there are some nice internal numbers.

Zambrano has given up 86 hits in 100 2/3 innings and of the five Marlins pitchers who have already reached 100 innings this season, he is the only one to give up fewer than 100 hits. His eight home runs allowed are second best on the staff to Josh Johnson's six.

Guillen and Zambrano both hail from Venezuela, and Guillen was often the person who consulted the pitcher after his infamous blowups. But Guillen balks at taking the credit for what seems to be a more focused Zambrano.

"Whatever the reason is, maybe it's because his religion helped him, his family," Guillen said. "A lot of people take credit that don't need (to take) credit. I have nothing to do with this. I told him exactly what I want and he's been doing that. I'm not going to take credit: ‘Oh, he's better because I'm tough.' No, he's better because he wants to be better."

Amazing as it sounds, Guillen seems to think that Zambrano might be too passive now.

"I think sometimes Carlos tried to take something off to throw a strike and that's not the approach to take," Guillen said. "When you take something off to throw a strike and that thing is going to be over the plate with nothing on it then you're going to get whacked. I would rather have him to throw (hard) no matter how it is. It takes a little while for that process but it's been a lot better."

Buy anybody disappointed that Zambrano couldn't take this new approach while he was with the Cubs, Guillen and the new surroundings were probably the biggest reason it is happening now.

"I believe in him because I know what he can do," Guillen said. "I'm not going to say do this or that and I know he can't do it. I told the Marlins to not worry about him off the field because I think I know him pretty well. And he needed change. It was good for everyone. I'm not just going to talk about this side I'm going to talk about the other side too. It's better for everyone."

Carlos Zambrano OK with change

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
9:06
PM CT
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
MIAMI -- Admitting that it was time to move on, Carlos Zambrano said all the right things Tuesday as his new team, the Miami Marlins, was getting ready to face his old one, the Chicago Cubs.

"I left half of my heart over there," said Zambrano, who was traded in January for Chris Volstad and cash considerations. "Chicago was always great to me and I do really appreciate all the attention and the criticism too because that made me get better. Nobody likes to be criticized but Wrigley (Field) was a great place for me.

"The atmosphere of baseball that you have in Wrigley, the passion of the fans is something that you probably don't see in any other ballpark. But it was time to turn the page. I'm here now and I'm in a new place and I'm trying to enjoy the time here. So far I'm doing it."

Read the entire story.

Video: Cubs won't miss Big Z

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
10:54
PM CT



ESPN MLB Insider Tim Kurkjian predicts that Carlos Zambrano won't win more games than any current Cubs starter.

Hot Button: Z vs. the Cubs

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
10:14
PM CT
By ESPNChicago.com
ESPNChicago.com
Carlos Zambrano and Matt GarzaAP PhotoWill a change of location help Carlos Zambrano find his previously dominant form?

As Carlos Zambrano enters fresh surroundings, will his poor play the past couple seasons vanish? More importantly, will Zambrano get more wins than any Cubs starter? Our experts address both sides of that questions in this week's Hot Button.


New 'Cub Way' beginning in Arizona

February, 18, 2012
2/18/12
9:10
PM CT
Wojciechowski By Gene Wojciechowski
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
MESA, Ariz. -- In case you're wondering if Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein already has his "Reverse the Curse" game face on, well, he does.

On Saturday -- one day before Cubs pitchers and catchers begin their first official workout, five days before position players report, 15 days before the first spring training game and 47 days before the season opener at Wrigley Field -- Epstein announced, again, that the goal of 2012 Cubs "is to win the World Series."

Yes, and my goal is to need hair gel this year, but that's probably not going to happen either.

Still, Epstein had to say it. What else could he say: "Our goal is to finish ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates"?

Read the entire column.

Cubs owner open to eating more salary

January, 14, 2012
1/14/12
10:16
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Saturday that he’d continue to be supportive of his front office if they thought moving a veteran player would be best for the team’s future.

“First of all, it’s really up to the baseball guys to decide who fits on the team,” Ricketts said at the Cubs Convention. “If there is a player they think doesn’t fit and they think it’s better for the team to move him, then I’ll support it 100%, even if that means eating some salary.”

Read the entire story.

Zambrano excited about trade to Marlins

January, 13, 2012
1/13/12
11:08
AM CT
By Associated Press
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Carlos Zambrano is excited about the trade that sent him from the Chicago Cubs to the Miami Marlins, expressing confidence that it will rejuvenate his career.

Read the entire story.

Cubs deal Zambrano to Marlins

January, 4, 2012
1/04/12
6:18
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive


The Chicago Cubs traded disgruntled pitcher Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins on Thursday.

Read entire story.

2011 in Review: Top 5 Cubs stories

December, 28, 2011
12/28/11
3:08
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Theo Epstein, Ron Santo, Starlin CastroUS Presswire/AP PhotoThe Cubs found a new leader and a building block for the future, and Ron Santo finally got the Hall call in 2011.
1. Theo Epstein hired: In a franchise-altering decision, Chicago Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts decided to create a new position, president of baseball operations, in order to interview and hire Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. Epstein, who had one year left on his Boston contract, was allowed to interview because the job being offered was above a GM description. Epstein was given a five-year deal that pays him $3.5 million a year, believed to be the highest annual average salary paid to any top baseball official. Epstein immediately hired Jed Hoyer as GM, doubling his salary to $1.2 million, according to industry sources.

2. Santo inducted into Hall: Almost one year to the day after his death, Ron Santo was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 94 percent of the vote from the veterans committee. The former third baseman and broadcaster had been passed over by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for 15 years and the veteran's committee another 10. He became the 47th player to wear a Cubs uniform enshrined into Cooperstown. Santo hit .277 with 342 home runs and 1,333 RBIs in a 15-year career. He called Cubs games as the radio analyst for 21 seasons until his death in 2010.

[+] EnlargeMike Quade
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastMike Quade's Cubs finished in fifth place in his only full season as manager.
3. Cubs fire Hendry and Quade: After a second straight fifth-place finish, Hendry was fired on July 23 but was asked to stay on the job to complete the signing of the June draft choices and oversee trade deadline responsibilities. Hendry traded Kosuke Fukudome to the Cleveland Indians three days before the deadline. In nine seasons as Cubs GM, Hendry orchestrated three playoff teams and hired two celebrity managers in Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella, who both managed four seasons. In October 2010, Hendry removed the interim tag on Mike Quade and gave him a two-year contract. Epstein fired Quade in late October, and hired Dale Sveum. Under Hendry, the Cubs went to the playoffs in two straight seasons for the first time in 100 years only to go three and out in the 2007 and 2008 division series. Escalating salaries and abject failures in the signings of Fukudome and Milton Bradley eventually sealed Hendry's fate.

4. Castro's emergence: With 207 hits, Starlin Castro became the youngest player to not only lead the NL in hits but also the youngest player in Cubs history to make a NL All-Star team. Castro became only the fifth player in All-Star history to steal two bases in an All-Star Game. He led the league in at-bats (674) and also led NL shortstops in errors with 29, playing 158 out of 162 games. Castro also had five hitting streaks of 10 games or more. He came under fire for having his back turned to home plate as a pitch was thrown during a nationally-televised game in August. The mistake was noted by an ESPN producer and relayed to Bobby Valentine, becoming national news.

5. Zambrano quits the team: The always unpredictable pitcher walked out of the clubhouse and announced to team personnel that he was quitting baseball after an embarrassing performance in Atlanta on Aug. 12. Zambrano gave up a Cubs-record five home runs in 4 1/3 innings before being ejected for throwing inside on Chipper Jones twice in the same at-bat. After storming out of the clubhouse, Zambrano was put on the disqualified list and never pitched again for the Cubs in 2011. Epstein met with Zambrano and agent Barry Praver on Nov. 15 and told him if he worked hard in winter ball he would have a chance to re-build his career and his relationship with his teammates in 2012. Zambrano received 19 stitches after taking a line drive off his mouth in his third start in Venezuela in November.

Epstein eyeing starting pitching, lefty bat

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
5:12
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with the media on Thursday and discussed a number of subjects as he prepares for the winter meetings which begin Monday in Dallas.

  • On the winter meetings: "It's one of the few times all 30 clubs are meeting and actually engaged and talking trades which is nice. There's a perception that a general manager or club president are always on the phone talking trade, but it really doesn't happen that often. You have to seize those opportunities at the GM meetings, the winter meetings and the trading deadline. I'll be honest with you, you won't see me a lot in that [hotel] lobby. I just don't like that scene in the lobby."

  • On potential for trades at winter meeting: "I'd just be guessing. Right now there is a fair amount of chatter. Not necessarily with us but a lot of other clubs. That usually means there will be some moves at the winter meetings. I'd be surprised if there weren't a couple of significant moves out there."

  • On free agency and the new collective bargaining agreement: "I still believe we are going to build this around young players. Free agency should never be the primary way that you rely upon to build the club. I think if you set out to build a foundation based on free agency you have a tough road ahead of you. Free agency is a complementary resource to round out your big-league club and use at the right time to sign impact players."

  • On manager Dale Sveum's staff: "We are getting there. We should have some announcements in Dallas or shortly thereafter."

  • On biggest offseason need: "We need starting pitching. You can't just take your chances of being looked at seriously as a club with just five guys. You have to point to six, seven or eight guys. And you'd better know who your ninth starter would be because you are going to need him. We are going to have to build our starting pitching staff. We don't have a ton of depth and that's a priority."

  • On the type of players he's looking for: "Adding a left-handed bat would be nice. But under the right circumstances. We are not going to force anything. We'll look for a well-rounded position player to contribute on defense and maybe run the bases. If that happens to be a left-handed bat, yes. David [DeJesus, signed Wednesday to a two-year deal] is a good example of that. He does those things well. And those are things as a club that we don't do well. The most obvious ways to improve is to look at your weaknesses and try to turn them into a strength."

  • On Carlos Zambrano: "He's healing pretty well, but I just don't want to put a timetable on [when he will pitch again in winter ball in Venezuela after he was hit by a line drive]. There's a reasonable chance once he's healed and throws a couple of pens that he will be out there relatively soon."

    [+] EnlargeYoenis Cespedes
    AP Photo/Gregory BullYoenis Cespedes, 26, played for Cuba during the World Baseball Classic in 2009.
  • On his trip to the Dominican Republic to watch Cuban outfielders Yoennis Cespedes and Jorge Soler: "It was a nice trip. We were scouting some players that might become available. There are still some steps and obstacles to be cleared before they become eligible free agents. I can't comment on these guys specifically, but what I can tell is I did visit our academy and what we heard about it is true. It's a really well-run operation."

  • On Matt Garza: "He's exactly the kind of guy that we would like to build around."

  • On the White Sox as possible trade partner: "We are not in any position to exclude any team. That's because we have a long way to go. There's a big gap between where we are now and where we want to be."

  • On chances of Jeff Samardzija and Andrew Cashner moving to rotation: "We like both guys a lot. There is some flexibility there with their roles. We've had some discussions internally about them. I've communicated with one of those guys but not both. I do see both guys being very valuable pieces to the picture. I was encouraged by Cashner's performance in [the Arizona Fall League]. It was demonstrated by his health. I was very encouraged by Samardzija's performances in the second half. Just by watching him from afar it seemed that the light turned on and that he turned the developmental corner, physically, mentally and fundamentally. The look that he had on the mound was much different."

  • On the possibility of Sean Marshall starting: "If you have the best left-handed reliever in baseball it's tough to take him out of that role."

  • On HGH testing in the new CBA: "I don't think it [affects how they look at players]. We have to look at each player on a case-by-case basis. We do our background work as we always have. I don't think we engage in any contract situation with a player, new rules or old rules, without doing it the right way."
  • Wood: Z has to return 'right way'

    November, 30, 2011
    11/30/11
    6:04
    PM CT
    By ESPNChicago.com
    ESPNChicago.com

    Kerry Wood said if volatile pitcher Carlos Zambrano wants to be welcomed back by Chicago Cubs players he will have to "do it the right way."

    Read the entire story.

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    TEAM LEADERS

    BA LEADER
    Starlin Castro
    BA HR RBI R
    .292 14 65 58
    OTHER LEADERS
    HRA. Rizzo 32
    RBIA. Rizzo 78
    RA. Rizzo 89
    OPSA. Rizzo .913
    WJ. Arrieta 10
    ERAT. Wood 5.03
    SOJ. Arrieta 167