cublogoverseChicago Cubs writer Dave Kaplan set off a firestorm yesterday when he posited that Carlos Zambrano May Be the Most Overpaid Player in the Game. That suggestion, alone, would have been enough to subject Kaplan to ridicule. After all, one need look no further than Zambrano’s own teammates – Alfonso Soriano, Aaron Miles, and Ryan Dempster come to mind – to find a player less worthy of his salary.

But Kaplan went much, much further. His diatribe lit up the Cubs starter as one would expect from Paul Sullivan. Clearly, Carlos Zambrano must stop sleeping with Cubs’ writers’ mothers.

I am so sick of hearing that Carlos Zambrano is the “ace” of the Cubs staff and that he is considered one of the best starters in the baseball. That is such a pile of garbage and it is about time people start to call this guy what he really is, a fraud.

This, while Zambrano is recovering from a bulging disc in his back, which he has played through for years. Very strange that the injury was seemingly the impetus for the rant.

Zambrano is not a big game pitcher, he is not an ace, and if the Cubs can, I believe they will look to move him and his bloated contract out of Chicago as soon as possible. What qualities does a #1 starter have? How about piling up wins? Zambrano has averaged 14 wins a season since he became a full time starter in 2003.

Um, I’m pretty sure that’s one of the highest per season win totals over that stretch in all of baseball. By my count, the only pitchers in baseball to average more wins than Zambrano since 2003 are Johan Santana, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. CC Sabathia and Zambrano are effectively tied for fourth. In all of baseball.

Look, I hate hate hate the W/L stat as much as any thinking person. But if you’re going to use it to bash a guy, you may want to, you know, actually look into the stat and verify that it doesn’t make him look like the fourth best pitcher in all of baseball.

Predictably, the Cublogoverse – mostly the comments section – blew up at Kaplan for his bizarre and ill-informed tirade. He tried to slightly back off his first post in a second, but still defended his strange “Zambrano doesn’t win games” claim by pointing out the fact that the pitchers who surround Zambrano in the most wins list have won more awards and won 20 games in a season.

I’m not going to debate that Carlos makes me nervous as a playoff ace. But as my friend Matt Clapp at the Friendly Blogfines points out, in the last two years, Zambrano has pitched like an ace in the playoffs.

I am starting to believe that Chicago writers dislike the way Carlos Zambrano handles himself off of the field – and in front of them – so very much that it affects their view of him on the field. Nowhere is this more patent than in the writing of Paul Sullivan, but it’s spilling over to all corners of the old media portion of the Cublogoverse. I’m not saying they’re wrong for disliking Zambrano – there’s obviously a lot of smoke – but let’s keep it professional, eh boys?

Lest you be called wildly overpaid.

  • Butcher

    If you ever want a few laughs, take a look at Desipio’s site. He emasculates Kaplan on a pretty regular basis.

  • Lok

    ..eh, I tend to agree with the original story’s premise (NOT his argument). While I think Z may be a decent pitcher, his emotions are all over the place and he allows them to ruin his ‘stuff’. At best, he’s an amazing #3, or a solid #2, in my book. Looking at the dominating pitchers of today and I see Doc, Johan, Cliff, Beckett, CC, AJ, Lincecum, and Haren, and I’d take those guys over Z any day of the week. I think Z has the stuff to be a great #1, but he lets his temper get in the way of greatness. I also think if you put Z up against the AL’s best bombers, he’d get shelled, especially this year since he’s having issues locating.

    Just my thoughts… Nothing against Z personally… just wish the guy would stfu and pitch :)

    • Ace

      I don’t disagree with any of that – and I also agree that Z is probably overpaid in today’s market. But there’s no denying that statistically, he’s one of the top 5 pitchers in the National League (if not baseball) over the past half decade.

  • Lok

    I can’t argue stats, but there are certain.. intangibles.. that just make me think otherwise. Can’t really put a finger on it. I mean, he could come back from this and pitch a no-no and I’ll have to eat my words, I just hate hearing comments like “at the end of my contract, I’m done”, and then crap like this.. He has so much talent, I feel it’s wasted.

    • Ace

      And I can’t argue intangibles… because, well… they’re intangible. :)

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