From one Chicago Cubs teammate, speaking of the Zambrano to the bullpen move sounds like a mix of surprise and forced optimism to me…
“That’s unbelievable,” starter Randy Wells said. “I can’t imagine, but if it helps the team, that’s what it’s about right now. We need somebody there. It could have been any of us. It’s a big shock to me, but if he takes it right and takes the right attitude, that could really help the bullpen. We need that. He’s definitely got the stuff to get some outs there. Maybe that’s the spark we need. Maybe I’ll catch.”
And then there’s what the man himself had to say.
“I don’t like to be a reliever. I don’t want to be a reliever,” Zambrano said after calling the move temporary. “But this team needs somebody to step up and help out in the bullpen. I don’t like it, but I need to go back and set in my mind that I need to help this team in any way. I told Lou I want to help this team till you find somebody. But I told him that I want to be back for the playoffs, back into the rotation.”
Speaking of whether the move would indeed be temporary, Piniella offered a different perspective than Zambrano.
“We’re trying to stabilize things and win some baseball games,” Piniella said. “This will give Jim and the front office more opportunities to hopefully do something. If not, this could be not temporary.”
Jim Hendry echoed Piniella’s suggestion.
“We didn’t give that any thought, about a time frame,” Hendry said. “We went with him because some of our other guys were not as good of candidates to go to the pen.”
Then again, that’s what you’d expect to hear from a guy who’s desperately trying to land a new reliever – as Jim Hendry should be.
But the real reason for the move?
“We’ll have a Carlos setup guy and a Carlos closer,” Piniella said.