As the World Turns…

Video of Zambranogate shows the pitcher storming into the dugout after giving up four runs in the first inning on Friday, shouting – at no one in particular – and gesticulating wildly. Derrek Lee can be seen shouting “shut the f*ck up” to Zambrano, who turns, and directs his anger more visibly at Lee. All reports – from writers, the players, and management – indicated that Zambrano’s initial yelling, though not directed at Derrek Lee’s face, was about Lee’s play in the first inning, as well as other Cubs.

Carlos Zambrano apparently says that’s not the way it happened.

Zambrano already is calling his actions Friday ”completely misunderstood” and blaming Derrek Lee for turning it into a big deal by confronting him during his ranting and raving after the White Sox’ four-run first inning.

”All he wanted to do was pump the team up. It was completely misunderstood,” a source close to Zambrano said, adding that Lee ”took it personal” and told Zambrano to ”shut the f— up.”

Yet team sources say Zambrano’s rant — much of which was in Spanish — included yelling, ”This team is horse s—-!”

That’s when Lee is caught on camera intervening and telling Zambrano to shut up.

They had to be separated.

So, about Zambrano’s version?

”That’s not the way we see it,” said Alfonso Soriano, who planned to call Zambrano on Saturday night. ”If he explains, maybe we can see it the way his friend sees it. But what he said wasn’t right.”

As one Cub put it, ”Anybody who believes [Zambrano’s version] must be smoking something.”

Asked if teammates could forgive Zambrano, Soriano said, ”I don’t know.” CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.

Zambrano has never had a vocal group of supporters in the Cubs clubhouse, but I honestly never believed it would come to this. Teammates are going out of their way to criticize Zambrano – something that, although common for the Cubs in recent years, you just never see on other teams.

He’s not helping himself by staying out of contact with the Cubs (though Carlos saw fit to go out to dinner with Ozzie Guillen the night he was dismissed from the team), but if there is this much hostility directed toward him over an incident that appears, on first glance, to be little more than Carlos being Carlos, that suggests that he’s probably right to keep his distance.

It also suggests that there’s a lot more than meets the eye going on here. A few years ago, Zambrano lost it on teammate Michael Barrett in the dugout. Carlos chased him down in the clubhouse, and beat his ass. There was some flap over it, but nothing compared to what’s happening now. Might that be because there’s more going on behind the scenes?

When was the last time you heard a manager and GM – and teammates – being so vocally critical of a player? Ok, bad question to ask Cubs fans. But again I say, on other teams, this shit just doesn’t happen. I’m not getting into the whole the-Cubs-pick-the-wrong-players-and-take-on-unnecessary-risks thing; I’m just saying that there’s probably a whole lot more to this story than we’ve yet heard about.

And Zambrano offering his side is just the beginning.

  • Tanner

    Trade him, NOW! The only thing that sucks, is that his trade value is really low AND the Cubs would probably have to eat most of his contract.

  • Kevin G

    The Cubs most likely wont be able to trade him until the season is over. I am guess with a new manger and GM at the helm.

    • wax_eagle

      Most likely this will be a situation similar to the Bradley one. We can choose to either take salary relief and someone else’s pariah or get back a mild amount of value and eat most of his salary. These kind of things aren’t likely to be deadline deals.

      The Bradley deal worked out well, if it comes to trading Z then I hope it works out half as well.

  • http://spoon1 J. Spoonmore

    Big “Z” should be out just like “Bradley”. If I was the manager I would tell the top dogs,either big Z or me that is the way it is. “P” would not have trouble finding a job.

    • jstraw

      *P* doesn’t want another job. *P* doesn’t appear to have much passion for _this_ job. *P* is ready to retire. It’s-him-or-me ultimatums are only relevant when the player is a more expensive commodity than the manager…and in those cases, they would seldom work.

  • Umpirejim

    If it’s possible (without MLBPA steppin in) Z would be sent to Triple A ball for the remainer of season AND I would not call him up in Sept. He would stay in the minor leagues so long he would be begging me to get out of his contract !

  • Cardfan

    All symptoms of a larger disease…

    As I watch this unfold, one thing is abundantly clear – you have to get rid of Lou and Hendry. Your team is damaged and the inmates are running the asylum. You don’t pull out of a tailspin like this without a big shake-up.

    I wish you well (but not too well, of course)…

    • ed

      my take also

  • Willis

    Trade him to who? Really with all that money who would want him? Proven winners such as the Cardinals, Yankees, BoSox, Twins, Angels, Dodgers and Phillies have the team and coaching to turn Z around and make him a good pitcher again. But, out of that group, none of the management is dumb enough to take this guy on. Sure, suspend him, which is fine by me, bury him in the bullpen, which is also fine, but his trade value is at rock bottom. Addition by subtraction is all we can really hope for in this case, unload him on someone and eat 50% or so of his remaining contract. Really, the guy can never wear a cubs uniform again.

    • bric

      Those are good points. The teams that are winning now don’t want or need all his baggage or salary. The only way he’s going to another team is a deal similar to Sosa’s. I figure we’ll have to eat about 75% of his contract and get back either a bad contract or a couple of minor leaguers. Right now I’d think the White Sox are the top possibility, followed by the Orioles, D-Backs, Marlins (all maybes).

  • Mike

    Honestly……had Z been pitching good, no one would be talking. When he went after Barrett, he was pitching well….and well we saw what happened there. With the Gatorade machine…..still pitching pretty well. But now that Cubs are having a bad season and he had a small blow up in the dugout….he’s done, trade em…..he’s terrible we don’t need em. I mean it’s pretty bad……..Its not like you weren’t expecting this at all from him. The team sucks, I believe he probably thinks the same thing…..with all that money, they all suck. Someone needs to light the team on fire. I wish his pitching matched his fire.

  • Lokanna

    It’s time to blow the team up and start over. It’s as simple as that. Historically strong players such as Lee, A. Ram, Sori, Z, etc, are all under producing (in some facet or another). There is zero team cohesion. Watch Z on his rant in the dugout. You can see Colvin get a drink and not even acknowledge him and other players just blatantly ignore him. Finally, Lee tells him to stfu and Z explodes. This is the 3rd time now that I can recall him doing this. What’s the old adage? 3 strikes, you’re out? Never more a fitting time to put that into play.

    To those who say Lou is the problem, I’m not so sure. Do I think he’s solving it? Not exactly, but the players were given WAY to high of contracts and since they’re all locked with zero chance of earning less, they have no incentive to perform. If this were Football, these Prima Donna’s would be cut and they’d be selling used cars somewhere.

    This sickens me and I can’t wait to watch a Cubs team who wants to win.

    • bric

      I agree that Lou wasn’t responsible for the contracts. That’s why Hendry’s on the hot seat, too. But wasn’t it Lou who said he needed to save Zambrano for game 4? What did Lou do when Theriot shouted out “I’m not gonna stop being agessive at the plate!” (for all the fans, scouts, opposing pitchers, managers and their brothers to read or hear)? Nothing. Lou’s a good guy but he’s lost control and needs to retire. Simple as that. BTW, I’ve never been a big fan of Theriot. Thanks for nothing, jackass. Nice agressiveness… 1st pitch, ground into double play. The main problem with these guys is they think everybody is as dumb as they are.

      • Lokanna

        Bric, I hear what you’re saying. I just wonder how much Lou’s just letting it slide because he knows he can’t do anything about it. Sure, he could bench Theriot, but with a 25 man roster, he doesn’t have much else to draw upon. There’s enough blame in this whole situation to go around. The people I feel for the most are the fans who really just want a team to care about winning. Let’s face it, we’re not exactly “expecting” a World Series title any time soon. But show some damn effort! Show some feeling out there. I’d honestly challenge some of our “big contract players” to look me in the eye and tell me they care more about winning the game they’re about to play than what they’re going to do with their money in the off season.