There will be much more on this today and probably for a number of days, but, for now, tighten your jaw muscles lest you lose some teeth when it hits the floor:

Jim Hendry intends to accept Carlos Zambrano’s retirement.

Viewed by most as an empty threat last night, Zambrano stormed out of the clubhouse before the game against the Braves ended, saying he was “retiring.” But Hendry apparently refused to believe it was empty. Hendry has been quoted as saying simply, “We will respect his wishes and honor them and move forward.”

This is not the last word on the subject, but I’ll confess, I didn’t expect that kind of statement that soon. I thought there would be the usual song and dance; a meeting between Zambrano and Hendry, Zambrano and Quade, and Zambrano and the team. But to immediately say, “you want to retire? Ok. Done,” is pretty shocking.

Apparently a friend of Zambrano’s told him to sleep on the decision, but, in the interim, Hendry came out with his statement.

Where this goes from here, not too many know. I stand firm on my belief that, even if Zambrano is allowed to retire in some capacity, the Players’ Association is going to fight like tooth and nail to get Zambrano to try and “earn” (however that is possible) the remaining $20 million or so on his contract through next season.

  • Fishin Phil

    Just when you think the train wreck can’t get any worse…..

  • pfk

    In a season as awful as this, at least we will be entertained over the next few days. I seriously doubt Zambrano will give a written letter of resignation. I’m sure MLB has a formal way to retire other than just telling the clubhouse boy. Actually, this could be very interesting legally because he not only made the comment, which one could argue was just for effect, but he cleared out his locker including his nameplate. That is taking a direct action and taken with his statements, could be considered an “act” of actually retiring…saying it to those within earshot and then taking the action of one who is, in fact, retiring. Great stuff. Hey, when a team is this bad, a little entertainment will be nice. And, maybe, just maybe, the Cubs will have just “found” $20M.

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  • BFM

    I missed all the hoopla last night and woke this morning to an avalanche of info and shock!
    I love Z. I have pulled for him for the last 8 seasons. Through the tantrums and tirades! But after this, maybe it is time for the Cubs to say “adios”. As much as I enjoy watching his intensity and dedication, this is too much! What more can the Cubs do to control this guy? There is no way another team is going to go out on a limb and pick him up after this.
    It reminds me of the incident involving Sammy Sosa some years ago. He was on a shitty team and decided to leave without notice.
    Maybe the Cubs will do the same thing now that they did then……clean house.
    Start with the manager and start making some moves!

    Sorry Z! Love watching you play, but this is the end!


  • Brian

    if i were ricketts, i would be ticked at hendry for just accepting his retirement instead of talking to him about the situation. If i was paying a guy $16million or so to play for me, and he pulled this stunt, i wouldn’t just say, “oh well, if that’s what he wants, I guess that’s what he gets”, I’d get hendry on the phone and tell him to get ass over to wherever big Z is and TALK to him.
    And as bad as this makes Zambrano look, I think this statement reflects just as badly on hendry.

    • Ron Swanson

      You realize if he retires they don’t pay him right? And you also realize that the Cubs were aggressively shopping Z at the deadline?

      I’m pretty sure Hendry and Ricketts are on the same page on this one.

    • Brett

      Completely disagree. This is the first great thing Hendry has done in a long time. And, for what it’s worth, it’s pretty much just symbolic. It has no actual effect until Zambrano formally asks to retire and the Cubs give him the ok. At that point, there’s a bunch of paperwork.

      • Jeff

        I agree Brett, there are a lot of parallels between this and the Sammy Sosa drama at the end of his Cubs run. They both threw tantrums, they were both disruptive to teammates, and both walked out on the team. Sosa leaving marked a change in the Cubs culture and I think was the turning point that led to the momentum built in Hendry’s early years. Maybe Z walking away from this team is going to make a difference in this teams attitude. Maybe this is more of the chemistry issues that Carlos Pena was speaking of. I actually respect that Hendry is still there standing up to some of the inmates, while Quade seems to let them do what they want. You reap what you sow, right?

      • DarrellB

        I agree. The quick response from Hendry lets Zambrano know that the Cubs would be very pleased to have him gone. Possibly Zambrano has enough pride to not stay where he is no longer wanted.

        He has plenty of money. Maybe his life will be much less stressful and happier if he retires to a life with his young family.

  • awesome

    agree, most times a GM will wait a day or two to make any statement. but this was Hendry’s chance to rid himself of one contract. next, Soriano. see ricky, i saved you $20m.

  • jason

    Hendry is excited because the money he owes Z can go to his donut and jack daniels fund.

    And I support Z in this. This organization is a joke right now with a horrible g.m. and a manager who doesn’t deserve to be a major league manager!

  • Crazy Nazey

    I’ll praise Hendry for his comments when, and only when, this retirement threat goes through. If Hendry and the Cubs brass welcome Zambrano back after some b.s. apology, Hendry’s comments are moot.

    As for supporting Z because the organization is a joke, I disagree completely. Yes, the organization is a joke, but it’s an organization that is paying this guy nearly $100 million to play a game. Is it really too much to ask for him to be a professional and not take his ball and go home when things aren’t going his way? True character shows (and has shown in Z’s track record) when things go badly. Don’t let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out Carlos.

  • al

    Adios bitch!! Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!!

  • jstraw

    Hendry is doing this right. Whatever happens, he’s now in a position of strength with regard to Zambrano, his agent and the players association. A grown man announced his retirement and Hendry agreed, abrogating the contract. Whatever happens next, Hendry is in the driver’s seat.

    • Ron Swanson

      Totally agree. For all his faults, this is the kind of thing he handles well.

      • Toosh

        And negotiating his way around a buffet table.

      • Brett

        Not really – he handled the exits of Sosa, Bradley, and Silva like shit.

        Saying what he’s said so far (and when he said it) is the best thing he’s done in a while. But let’s not go nuts – it was a low bar.

        • jstraw

          I agree.

  • anthony

    First of all, very fitting that jason has a nascar avatar. Second of all, Ricketts should monitor this situation closely, but not for the popular reasons. Z quit on the other 24 other guys in the locker room, a la Sammy. He should not be welcomed back by anybody in the organization. Quitting on your teammates is tantamount to quitting on your employer, aka the Ricketts family. If I was Hendry, I’d submit any necessary paperwork to MLB’s office to expedite the situation. If Quade or Hendry allows him to join the team in any aspect, it speaks volumes towards them and they should be dealt with accordingly. This is the moment in Rickett’s Cub history to define himslef in no way other than a World Series championship will do. He needs to sieze the moment

  • BAMF

    @Anthony – You are 100 % correct. Ricketts has been the type not to stir the pot and let things develop. He was smart enough not to give Hendry more money to work with in the offseason. Maybe they knew something we didn’t when they hired Quade over Ryno. Quade walked into a losing situation and managed to do even worse than expected. Like I said in another thread, time to clean house starting at the top. The fans deserve to know that this type of performance is unacceptable. As for Z, I’ve always been a fan but I can’t support him with this. If the Cubs continue to let him walk all over the organization, where is it going to stop. The Cubs are already mentioned in the same breathe as the Mets, can it really get much worse? I say dump anyone over 28 yrs old and replace them with AAA Iowa or AA Tennessee players. Time for a dramatic cultural change for the cubs and like you said, this next month could define the Cubs era under Ricketts. He most definitely needs to grow a set and take back control of this sinking ship.

  • terry

    too bad they wouldnt have traded him then they would’ve possible had a few guys in the minors in place of zambrano