Chicago Cubs fans got a belated Christmas gift with the trade of Carlos Zambrano to the Miami Marlins for Chris Volstad. As far as the Cubs’ on-field fortunes are concerned, the deal means little. Both pitchers are back-end-of-the-rotation guys. After a promising rookie season in 2008 (2.88 ERA), Volstad has regressed. He had a 4.89 ERA last year in a pitcher-friendly park, although he finished strong with a 2.32 ERA in September.
Zambrano, meanwhile, when he wasn’t quitting on his team and breaking stuff was equally mediocre, albeit at a much higher salary. The Cubs’ new regime didn’t want to add cancer treatment to their other difficult tasks, so it smartly got rid of Big Z, even agreeing to pay $15 million of his $18 million salary.
I, for one, am willing to contribute to the Big Z Exile Fund to help defray that 15 mil hit. Seriously, Theo, hit me up with your PayPal address and I’ll send 5 bucks your way.
I’ll admit, I liked Carlos for a while, like, when he was good and reasonably sane. But his true colors were in full bloom last year and there was no going back. He made it clear he didn’t want to be on the North Side anymore, so he had to go.
I continue to be encouraged by the Cubs’ moves. The early maneuvers — DeJesus, Stewart, Marshall trade — were sensible and low risk. And the Z trade simply had to be done. Sometimes you have to destroy a village in order to save it, so tearing down a roster that wasn’t working and setting the stage for a realistic and sustainable rebuilding program is something that all Cubs fans should applaud, even if it will come with at least a couple more years of ugly baseball.