The Chicago Cubs’ on-again off-again ace Carlos Zambrano may have been the best pitcher in baseball over the last month and a half of the season.

He took a 54.00 ERA after Opening Day, and turned it into lemons: an ERA over seven by mid May. His epic meltdown followed in late June, after returning to the rotation from an ill-advised stint in the bullpen. Suddenly, a return to respectability seemed like a far off dream.

And then the dream came true. Again. And again. And again. We had more pinch marks than an Irish kid wearing orange on St. Patty’s day, but we still didn’t wake up. It was real.

Zambrano wrapped up the year with a 3.33 ERA – his best in five years – and 117 Ks over 129.2 innings. His last lost came back on June 25 – the day of his meltdown. No one knows what the future holds for Z or the Cubs (well, I suppose we know a little something about the near-certain unpleasant future for the latter), but it was – in the midst of an erstwhile nightmare – a nice little dream stretch to dream.

And then Z wrecked his car leaving Wrigley Field this morning. He’s fine, but let’s hope he didn’t crash hard enough to wake himself up.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    And it starts. Zambrano making more news off the the field than on. As usual. If Hendry doesn’t get rid of this piece of ???? this offseason, expect Zambrano to keep up his “me first” episodes next year.

    • jstraw

      Like all the other times he made news off the field? What are you on about?
      So he banged up his car. So what?

  • curt

    all i hope is tht zambrano fooled someone else into taking his act elsewhere he won his games when the pressure was off hes no ace myb a 2 or a 3

    • jstraw

      Explain why he should go if he’s a solid two or three but not a one.

  • Raymond Robert Koenig

    Because next year will bring the same thing. It might start in spring training. If not, it will certainly start during the season. Another Z “episode”. Zambrano cares only about himself, not the team. No team can win a World Series with a player like Zambrano on it. I’ve been a Cub fan since 1969 and always will be, but I won’t expect them to win the World Series with Zambrano.

    • Butcher

      I don’t understand your reasoning. Zambrano was on the 2003 team. He didn’t have anything to do with the game 6 (or game 7) meltdowns. Zambrano was on the 2008 team — and he (and Lee) were probably the only two players on the team that didn’t piss down their legs in the playoffs. He also pitched a helluva game in 2007 in game 1 against the D’Backs.

      I don’t see how Zambrano has prevented us from winning a World Series.

      • Raymond Robert Koenig

        If you’ve ever been in a competitive team situation you know that players who are only concerned with themselves make it harder to play as a team. Zambrano is one of those players. He has to go.

        • Butcher

          I guess I don’t put a ton of stock in intangibles. Everyone thought getting rid of Sosa was going to make us better. Everyone thought getting rid of Bradley was going to make us better. Now everyone seems to think getting rid of Z is going to make us better.

          If we can jettison Z for a quality player that actually makes the team better, sure — sign me up. Getting rid of Z for some other team’s garbage just because he yells at his teammates (and at invisible demons in the sky) isn’t going to make us better.

          • Raymond Robert Koenig

            It doesn’t really matter. Hendry said Zambrano’s going to be on the Cubs next season. I don’t see the Cubs winning the World Series any time soon. 102 years for the organization. 42 years for me as a fan.

            • Butcher

              Unfortunately, I agree. It’s going to be a while before they’re good enough to even think about a World Series again…

  • Willis

    Bottom line is that we need him to be as good as he was the last 6 or so weeks to have any type of chance at contending next year. I was all about trading him and I have come around to wanting him as the 2 or 3 in next year’s rotation. He comes even close to what he did to close out the year, the rotation becomes very formidable as we saw the last few weeks.

  • Mike

    Z has always had the talent. He needs to keep his head together, and to do that, his teammates needs to achieve. They are paying Soriano 136 million to have one half of a good year out of five? Unacceptable.
    Not that I condone Z’s tantrums, but I don’t blame him for being upset at times. He’s the ace on the most underachieving team in history.
    If he’s not the ace next year, we need to go get one. Losing Lilly hurt a ton. This year was lost early, but next year everyone has a chance, and we need better pitching.