Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Zambrano Threatens to Leave If He Doesn't Get His Way

Carlos Zambrano is threatening to look elsewhere for employment if the Cubs don’t give him what he’s asking for. In an interview on WGN Radio, Zambrano said:

“I'm ready to sign, and I would do my job anyway with the Cubs this year. Whatever happens, I don't want to know [anything] about a contract during the season. I want to sign with the Cubs before the season starts. If they don't sign me, sorry, but I must go. That's what Carlos Zambrano thinks."

As I’ve stated before, Zambrano is a proud guy who wears his heart on his sleeve (and suddenly speaks in the third person). But let’s be honest, Z and his agent asked for too much money in arbitration. They asked for $15.5 million while the Cubs offered a fair $11.025 million. Remember, Z is arbitration eligible, he’s not a free agent. Z’s asking price might be reasonable for the FA market, but he’s still a year away from that.

Even so, Jim Hendry needs to lock up his ace with a long-term contract and he needs to do it before opening day. Even better, get it done before February 20 and both sides can avoid arbitration.

I’ve got to believe that the two sides will eventually get together. Z is going to get his money and has expressed a desire to stay with the Cubs. The Cubs have spent a fortune signing players this off-season. They would be foolish to spend all of that money and then devastate their rotation by letting Z go. The deal will eventually get done.

That’s what Lou Mindar thinks.

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In other news, the Cubs traded Jae Kuk Ryu to the D-Rays for two prospects. Ryu was going nowhere with the Cubs and will now have the opportunity to crack the D-Rays rotation. In return for Ryu, the Cubs got RHP Greg Reinhard and OF Andy Lopez.

The 23-year old Reinhard pitched in single-A last year and has a combined 8-13 record and a 4.29 ERA in two minor league seasons.. He is a former 5th round draft pick who has some upside potential.

Lopez is only 20-years old. He spent the past two years playing Rookie Ball in the Appalachian League. Lopez will likely start the year in Peoria.


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