With rumors flying about the Chicago Cubs trading starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano – and especially now that those rumors run directly contrary to each other – it’s time to put an obsessive watch into place.

Not more than 36 hours ago, ESPNChicago was reporting that, not only were the New York Yankees interested in trading for Carlos Zambrano, but they had sent high-level scouts to observe the righty’s last several starts. Now ESPNNewYork says it isn’t true. ESPN has to get its cities on the same page.

[T]here have been recent reports of the Yankees scouting Zambrano’s recent starts. With the Yankees’ starting staff decimated by injuries to Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon, it seemed like a natural fit.

Not so, said the source, who told ESPNNewYork.com, “It’s all (B.S.) There’s no seriousness to it at all.”

The official cited Zambrano’s declining ability — the velocity on his fastball has dropped in recent years from an average of 92 mph in 2009 to 89.8 mph this year, according to FanGraphs.com — and prohibitive contract.

“He’s just not worth the money,” the official said. “The Cubs would have to pick up most if not all of the contract. I just don’t see it happening.”

That, right there, is a perfect example of what makes rumor season so much fun. Did you read the denial carefully? The source isn’t saying the Yankees absolutely do not have interest in Zambrano. Instead, the source is floating the idea that, if the Cubs don’t pick up most of Z’s remaining contract, *then* the Yankees *probably* don’t have interest.

I’ve been in the rumor game long enough to know that you can hear seemingly opposing things from two different sources, and yet both things are true. The trick is to find that tiny, venn diagram slice of truth where the two sides overlap.

Here, the overlap of truth is pretty clear: the Yankees don’t want Carlos Zambrano at $9 million remaining this year and another $18 million next year. But they’d be willing to consider him if the Cubs eat a healthy chunk of that salary.

For what it’s worth, this overlap comports with what I’m hearing – namely, the Yankees are interested. And they aren’t the only team.

  • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

    Will people please learn what “decimate” means????

    • VanSlaw

      That ship has sailed, sir. Very few Roman soldiers are playing in the major leagues. I doubt you could rustle even, say, ten up.

      • Caleb


      • necubsfan


  • ry

    so lets see if the cubs do trade zambrano, then that means our rotation will look as follows:

    Holy christ, i hope football season gets here soon. I have a hard time thinking the Yankees would give us a 2 or 3 major league ready prospects for zambrano even if we do eat at least half the contract. It will be bombs away on Cub pitching the rest of the year; I for one cannot bear to watch that; it would be like watching your son fight Mike Tyson in his prime!

  • JB

    I would trade Dempster while your at it…even Marmol…we aren’t talking about this year…we are talking about an organization having…gasp…a plan..

  • Toosh

    The Yankees are interested. As the trading deadline approaches, other teams might become interested. The more interested teams, the better the trade Hendry could make.

    • http://www.frenchrocks.net Ian Afterbirth

      “(T)he better the trade Hendry could make”

      What’s wrong with that sentence?

      (that’s not a dig at you, Toosh)

  • TWC

    I like these posts from Ace, when “Bleacher Nation” becomes a verb meaning “to parse”.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Ace

      I may have been a lawyer in a past life…

      • Dave

        I once got a fortune cookie that read: “You would make a good lawyer”

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Ace

          That’s funny… I once got one that read, “You would make an unhappy lawyer.” :)

          • Dave

            I’ve never met a happy one. Way back in my undergrad years, when Usher ruled the charts and Neifi Perez saved us, man, I was planning on going to law school then had a mild existential crisis and decided I didn’t want to live my life as the guy whose ad is on the back of the phone book.

  • Toosh

    No problem. Unfortunately, it appears that if Zambrano is traded, Hendry will be the Cub GM doing the trading. I’m ambivalent on trading Zambrano. On the one hand, I don’t think the Cubs are going to make a run this season, while on the other hand, next season’s rotation would be weaker without him.

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  • Madprizamwoo

    I don’t get why everyone is blasting JH’s trading ability. The one thing he does well is trade. His real trades of note from what I can recall are as follows:

    Ramirez and lofton for no one (gave us our best 3rd baseman since 10)
    D lee for choi (gave us an all-star 1st baseman for several good years)
    Lilly trade I still don’t get but a pitcher in his mid 30’s I can give a waiver on.

    Free agents I’m with you all. He simply sucks at identifying talent at a good price (minus the Lilly and DeRosa signings). Sorino ouch, big Z ouch, fukudome ouch, Bradley big ouch

    And by getting rid of demp and big Z how does that = a plan. If he doesn’t know wtf he’s doing then I wouldn’t want him making any moves.

    My prediction, JH will be with the team for another 4 years. Perhaps he should get better advanced scouts when signing free agents.

    Btw, this is my first post Ace and I have to say I love your site. I don’t ever look at cubs.com any longer. I only visit your site. Great job!!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Ace

      Thanks, Mad. That’s the goal – happy to serve.

      I think the reason folks blast Hendry’s trading ability this time of year with this kind of team is because he has yet to show he’s great at selling, rather than buying. His “buy” type deals (Choi/Lee, Ramirez/Lofton, Nomar, etc.) have generally been good. His “sell” type deals (Gorzelanny, Lilly, Maddux, etc.) have generally been poor.

      • Madprizamwoo

        Interesting point Ace. I never really thought about it as buyer vs seller. I have to agree completely. Fuck man! JH has to either b gone by end of June or I’m afraid we will live w this fuck for several more years. We can’t have a plan or vision with a gm who’s going nowhere. Man this team hurts to love!

  • al

    i got one that sais caveman lawyer

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    James Russell sucks..the best part of him ran down his moms leg!…the cubs had this game tonite..I question quade’s ability to manage in the big leagues we’ve had way to many opportunity to win games..why in the fuck does he still pitch Russell Coleman there stuff isnt there! Doesn’t make since!…shit iam almost through with this team..also all you fucks out that doubted soriano ..look whos carring the team..he’s hot since coming off the DL

    • Toosh

      Soriano is still part of the problem, not the solution. Ramirez too. Hopefully they’re both gone ASAP.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    This fucking team literally makes me wanna puke..national televised game on espn and we stunk up the joint..because of lack of managerial experience and a fat fuck of a gm…

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Madprizamwoo..it does hurt to love this team..Ricketts needs to pull his head out of his ass..hendry and Quade both need to be gone by the all star break..I would also like to see Dempster gone as well..