Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cubs Sign Zambrano

Okay, it’s not like Zambrano was a free agent, but it’s still exciting that Z and the Cubs avoided arbitration and got a deal done. They agreed on a one-year, $12.4 million contract that will likely last less than six weeks. That’s how long the two sides have to negotiate a long-term deal before the start of the season, Zambrano’s self-imposed deadline.

I have mixed emotions about a long-term deal. As I’ve chronicled here in the past, there is no reason to work out a long-term agreement right now. Let’s see what Z does during the course of the year. If he does well and stays healthy, then sign him.

On the other hand, if Zambrano is not signed before he becomes a free agent after the 2007 season, there is always the possibility that he will sign elsewhere. There are very few pitchers of Z’s caliber in the game. It doesn’t make sense to lose him, only to have to overspend to get someone less capable to replace him.

Whatever happens, it’s good to have Z signed and ready to pitch this season. Let’s win a World Series this year and worry about who’s signed and who isn’t next year.

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Kerry Wood is a skinny person. Over the off-season, Wood lost a considerable amount of weight and eye witnesses are reporting that he looks younger and healthier than he has in years. Unfortunately for Wood, he suffered the first injury of the year when he slipped in his hot tub and bruised his chest.

Wood reports that he’s fine and he’s ready to pitch full speed. However, Pinella says that he’s going to take it easy on Wood for now and doesn’t plan on using Wood in back-to-back games until he feels Wood is ready.

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Having signed Carlos Zambrano to a one-year deal, the Cubs have now signed all of their arbitration-eligible players without having to go to arbitration. As it turns out, that isn’t all that unusual. Since 1980, the Cubs have only gone to arbitration with five players. In those five arbitration cases, the Cubs have won three and lost two.

One of those they won occurred in 1988 with Andre Dawson. Dawson was asking for $2 million and the Cubs were offering $1.85 million. The two sides were only $115,000 apart, yet they couldn’t reach an agreement. The arbitrator sided with the Cubs. Just to avoid any bad karma, Jim Hendry should send The Hawk a check for $115,000 and ask for his forgiveness.


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