Far be it from me to turn a late-night tweet or two into a bombshell, so, for now, I’ll preach temperance.

But, this was too much to sit on until tomorrow.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer and Paul Sullivan, after Carlos Zambrano was ejected tonight (for twice throwing inside on Chipper Jones after the Braves went back-to-back), he cleaned out his locker before the end of the game, and left. He talked about retiring. Mike Quade, Wittenmyer says, is fuming.

If true, this is a problem. A big one. Z was already going to face potential team discipline for his behavior in the game, but now? This feels like the moments leading up to Milton Bradley’s indefinite suspension and extrication from the team. I’m sure there will be much, much more on this tomorrow.

This could be a bumpy weekend.

And, for those getting hopeful that Z will indeed retire and the Cubs will save money, I’d again preach temperance: the Players’ Association will push him hard to stay active, and force the Cubs to pay him his $18 million next year – whether he pitches for the Cubs or not.

  • Jeremy E

    Thats fine if we don’t have to pay him anymore, but now if he really is retiring, Rodrigo Lopez is gonna be a full-fledged starter.

    • Darrellb

      Lopez will be 36 next year and will be long gone.

  • Jerry McClellan

    My bet is this will all smoothed over tomorrow and Z will explain that he was upset about how he pitched. If not see ya and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out the door.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      If it’s as has been reported, I have a hard time seeing Z come right back from this one.

  • CUB5

    I knew Z’s ‘rehabilitation’ last season was too good to be true. Like Jeremy said, it would be great to not have to pay him – $20 million or so would come off the books next year!

  • MichiganGoat

    Ah snap

  • Brian

    I say send Z to the White Sox to give Adam Dunn a break from the fans.

  • Goat

    Good news: Cubs could be saving a bunch of money soon.

    Bad news: Cubs could have to beg Doug Davis to come back

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I updated the post to reflect my thoughts on the Cubs actually saving money. I don’t think it will happen.

  • Derek

    If only Soriano would follow Z’s example

  • hansman1982

    Damn, and I was hoping that Z was a changed man…welp so much for that.

  • Vlad

    I hope it is true, every year a situation with this guy. 18 millions that the Cubs could use looking for an ace.

    Please Zambrano, retire!!!

  • SJH

    I hope I never have to see him in a Cub uniform again. I’d lve to see them off the hook for his contract, but that seems too good to be true.

  • N

    I don’t think this will take either, but Sullivan just said Hendry accepted the retirement. They’re totally going to try and make this stick!

    I kind of hope it does, not because I want Z to go, but because him going in such an insane way seems like the way it ought to end.

    Even if Z wanted to come back, there probably is a little matter of a suspension for throwing at Chipper to deal with too. He may appeal, but he’s probably missing a few day at some point anyway.

  • MichiganGoat

    I know we wish he’d retire and save us the money, but it won’t happen (as Brett mention the union is already in his ear), we can’t force a retirement and Z will realize he’d rather have 18M to spend. The best case is we do a Bradley/Silva like swap and hope we save a million and get half a season out of the junk we get in return before dropping that player. Ill have fun reading the spin and rhetoric from everyone tomorrow.

  • ari gold

    Awesome! If they accept his retirement immediately, do they have to pay him if he changes his mind? I’m sure it has to be in writing, but lets get this piece of shit out of here.

  • Rev. Bud Green

    No way Z let’s that much cheese on the table. If he dose then he relly is crazy.

    • ari gold

      If their is one guy who is that crazy, it’s Zambrano

    • Jeff

      Gil Meche left about that much on the table for the Royals last year. I don’t know about the whole money thing, Zambrano can probably go pitch back home or in Japan and make some pretty good money if he isn’t already set up for life. I know he has some personal issues, and losing like they are can’t be easy on someone as passionate as he is. There really haven’t been a whole lot of moves toward improving the team either, it’s all been lateral or backwards the last couple of years, and I can see why he thinks things are bleak, and he is stuck.

      If this is the way his career or time in Chicago ends, it will be another in a long line sad departures for a Cubs starter. I’ve liked his attitude and fire since the day he was drafted. I loved that he went after Barry Bonds when no one else in baseball would, and I really loved it when he rubbed it Mr. Roids face when he put him down. I’m going to miss watching him pitch and hit. Big Z had a rocky run, but he’s got to be one of my favorites of all time.

      • Mike Foster

        Totally agree Jeff, I love the guy, fire and all, including the beaning….the walking out, not so much. I think he’s set for $$’s and given the choice of the money with another anger management session or leaving the money, wouldn’t surprise me if he leaves. But this guy wants to win so bad I’d expect him to take a trade. Guess we’ll see. I hate the idea of another future HOF player leaving on bad terms.

        • Toosh

          He’ll never make the Hall of Fame.

        • pfk

          Future hall of Fame? You’ve got to be kidding, right? He wouldn’t finish in the top ten in voting much less get elected.

  • Coale

    yea its great, but big Z’s a smart man and he think this team is trash and the manager, you didnt see anyone coming off the bench for the Cubs and the Braves dugout came out in defense of chipper. This is deeper than big z retiring, Need to start over with Sandberg and let him hire former Cubs and let the players knw what being a Cubs means. Start young. Quade shud be fired for playin reed johnson over Colvin, he not following his boss orders. Play johnson over soriano, he wont be here next year, why he even playin, bring up the young kids and play them, and let a new gm trade away everyone except castro. Think Garza would be good to keep, but could bring back to much to give up

  • zach

    This just in: soriano “retires” too

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Don’t tease people…

  • Coale

    Quade just a loser, I’m not goin to be happy untill we hire Sandberg, and I think thats how over half the fans think to, as you can see the attendance. When i went to a Cubs game this year there were more Sandberg jerseys out than any other Cub player on the roster. We need to start young. I’m tired of aram not being clutch and hes only clutch when it doesnt mean anything and in meaning less games. Soriano nuff said, Bryd shipp um, pena see ya, soto bye bye, Dumpster washed up no more than num 4 these days, Marmol get something back, wells, lopez, and Z next pitcher. Garza goin bring a haul, send Marshall for propects, linup for next year

    CF B.jackson
    RF Colvin
    LF pick someone up cheap or get back in trade
    SS Castro
    2B Barney or trade him
    3B Id trade for Ian stewart from rockies
    1B Get Chris Davis
    C Castillo
    Sign Yu darvish
    other get back in trade
    CL trade for Ryan Perry on the tigers
    pick rest pieces up

  • DaveB23

    Brett, you’re saying that you don’t actually think the Cubs will save money. Is this because you don’t really think hes going to ‘officially’ retire? (Meaning he comes back and says he was just upset at the time and didn’t really mean it) At this point I could see how the contract will definitely be sticking.
    But if he really does go through with an ‘official’ retirement then I really don’t see how the Union could have any say in this. He’s the one that’s breaking his portion of the contract, therefore there is no way the Cubs should have to pay him a cent more (including not paying him anymore on the remainder of his contract for this year). Although i guess I could see the Cubs being forced to pay him his full salary for this season, but definitely not next season

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      All of that is correct – my belief is, when it comes down, he won’t actually go through with the necessary formalities of retirement (such that the Cubs wouldn’t have to pay him). The union is in his ear already, I’m sure (to say nothing of his agent), and he’ll have a change of heart.

      But I think he’s probably done as a Cub.

  • KB

    Anyone who thinks the Cubs are gonna “save” $18 Mil by “accepting” Z’s “retirement” are going to be disappointed. The union won’t allow it, and Z won’t enjoy setting fire to a pile of cash worth 18 million. He’ll get over it soon.
    Why does everyone make such a big deal about a fiery, uber-emotional guy having a few temper tantrums?

    • Mike Foster

      Because it sells soap….

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      This is a little more than a temper tantrum, Kabes. Z threw a hissy fit on a mound, acted like a totally unprofessional douche, and then packed up his locker in the middle of a game, telling folks he was retiring. I don’t know what the word for that is, but it’s much more severe than temper tantrum.

  • Ol’CharlieBrown

    This season just keeps getting uglier and uglier. Maybe this will be a blessing in disguise, but man oh man. The Cubs are literally self-destructing. Whats worse, the Cubs will probably gain nothing from this except maybe an open roster spot. Tough to watch. Sad to see…

    • Ron Swanson

      a roster spot and an extra $18 mil to spend next year. That’s not nothing.

  • Mike Foster

    And speaking of beaning….5 days and 10 hours till the Cubs bean Matt Holliday!

    • Jim

      Why couldn’t Z wait for Holliday to throw his tantrum? That’s the way to go out, throw a few at Holliday and when The Genius comes out to argue body slam him, Farnsworth-style.

  • ReiCow


    Please correct me if I am wrong, but.. are the Cubs just screwed in this situation? It seems to me that you can’t ever fire a player, can’t kick them out, punish them, anything without being forced to pay their entire (undeserved) salary. It feels like he can just be as much a jerk / screwup as he wants.. because he will get paid and he knows the more crap he does, the less likely the Cubs can move him. Do I have an incorrect read on this?


    • Jeff

      If he retires, and the player’s union doesn’t interfere, the Cubs are off the hook. I said it earlier, but Gil Meche retired heading into this season and it saved the Royals 12 million dollars this year. I know there’s the player’s union caveat to consider, but I think if Z really wants to go, not too many people are going to stand in his way.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        This is spot on. If he really, really wants to retire, there’s nothing the PA can do (but call him, text him, and bug him mercilessly not to do it).

  • Bryan

    Z is acting like a kid, but I’m sure he’s tired of the losing atmosphere of the Cubs. Also, it’s an obvious sign he doesn’t respect Quade/Hendry and is fed up with the Cubs in general.

  • al

    good riddance drama queen…

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  • Mike

    Last year after Z’s hot streak I thought the Cubs should have tried to dump him for as much as they could. Not because I didn’t believe he was changed, but because of the downside risk on his value if he had another outburst or did not pitch well. Further proof Hendry really has no idea what he’s doing. People point to the Ramirez or Derek Lee deals. Both of those deals happened because the other end was backed into a corner and needed salary relief.

    I don’t know that Hendry is much better than a very well educated baseball fan. We can all over value prospects or young players and hold onto them until they have no value or reduced value, i.e. Pie, Rich Hill, Marmol, Soto. Has Hendry ever really shown he has a plan? I hardly think getting more balance in the lineup qualifies as one. The indictment on Hendry as opposed to the well educated fan is Hendry has a much closer view of what is going on in the organization.

  • RoughRiider

    It’s another sad day, not just for the Chicago Cubs and their fans but for Carlos and his family as well. Carlos Zambrano has had all the God given talent to be a dominating pitcher for years. Unfortunately, his mind set has derailed his career far too many times. I fear that this is the final straw. He has become too much of a distraction and maybe too hard to trade and too hard to keep on the Cubs. It’s pretty obvious that last years counseling did not do enough and you have to wonder if he has gone off his medication. I don’t know if he will be back with the Cubs but I’m sure it won’t be for quite awhile. He will be suspended for a time and obviously will need more help than the Cubs can give. It may be best for him and his family that he does retire. It’s another case of what might have been. As for me, I pray he gets the help he needs and becomes what he was meant to be.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Well said. It’s easy to forget that ballplayers are just people, subject to the same flaws and internal strife as anyone else.

    • http://bleachernation rcv

      nicely said.

  • Zbo

    I’ll miss Big Z…he was a rare bit o’ fire on a “dead-ass team” (Brenly 2010, 2011)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, but his fire wasn’t a particularly productive kind of fire. Fun to watch sometimes, but it didn’t really help the Cubs win.

      • Zbo

        Sadly, true…it’s definitely time to turn the page (is that an understatement or what…it applies to so much right now in Cubland).

  • Cbp

    Now if I was a cubs player I would be so pissed I would want to hit the crap out of the ball. Or if I was a pitcher i would want to throw the ball so hard to hurt my cATcher hand. I see this situation as a good thing for the cubs to move on or a bad one which we have seen alot of bad baseball this year. This is about the time the cubs should bring up Jackson and get them fired up! you known the spark like Campana has been.

  • http://bleachernation rcv

    c’mon now, stop with the tantrums already… isn’t it bad enough that the Scrubbies are an embarrassment to Chicago as it is? get a grip Z and grow the hell up.