The news about Carlos Zambrano just keeps rolling in…
- Remember how Zambrano’s agent said Carlos returned his things to his locker Friday night after the game, and tried to take back his retirement comments? Remember how I said Z’s agent had an interest in saying such things? Yeah, the Cubs were suspicious, too. And they dispute the story, with some players laughing at the idea of Z returning to bring his stuff back. I’ve read various suggestions that what actually happened is Z asked one of his associates to return the stuff around midnight, but the Cubs wouldn’t allow it.
- The next step is a grievance, which will be filed today either by Zambrano or the Players’ Association, or both. From there, the Cubs and the MLBPA will gather their evidence, prepare their arguments, and will have a hearing to determine (a) whether the Cubs’ placement of Zambrano on the disqualified list was merited (30 days, no pay, which would save the Cubs some $3 million), and (b) whether Zambrano in fact retired and the Cubs in fact accepted that retirement. No one has confirmed that part b will be a part of the fight, mind you. That’s just my reading of the press release.
- One piece of evidence the Cubs will use for both issues? Zambrano sent text messages to, and left voicemails for, team personnel saying “thanks” and “goodbye.” Lawyer spin: this came long after Zambrano had stormed out of the clubhouse saying he was going to retire, which suggests that, after having time to cool down, Zambrano was still telling the Cubs he wanted to retire.
- Bruce Levine says, whatever happens, the consensus around the team is that Zambrano will never pitch for the Cubs again.
- Alfonso Soriano confirmed that he expressed his anger with Zambrano after the pitcher was ejected. “We are human. We are not machines. He had a bad day, but you’re not supposed to hit some guy because they hit [home runs off] you,’’ Soriano said. ‘‘Now you put [your] hitters in a tough position because maybe sooner or later they want to hit one of us. That’s what I said to him. And I’m surprised they haven’t hit nobody yet.”
- Mike Quade says he thought he had a fine relationship with Zambrano. “I probably never sat back and analyzed that,” Quade said. “I thought it was good as it could be. His decisions, and what has taken place here recently, I didn’t take personally. I don’t think it had anything to do with our relationship.”
- Quade also says he doesn’t believe he left Zambrano in too long in Friday night’s pivotal fifth inning, which culminated in Zambrano’s ejection for twice throwing at Chipper Jones. “We needed to try like heck to get five innings out of him,” Quade said. “Letting him get hit in the top of the fifth was not about leaving somebody out there to get pounded. First of all, you can hit and help this thing. Second of all, find a way to get through the fifth. If you do, maybe even get through the sixth.”