Each day, I think it will be the end of the bullets-style Carlos Zambrano posts, and then I look at my open tabs and realize I have five things to write about Zambrano. Until that stops, the bullets-style Carlos Zambrano posts will continue…
- SI’s Michael McCann takes a legal approach to the Carlos Zambrano circus and the upcoming grievance hearing. There is too much good content to repost here, but the gist is this: the Cubs will argue Zambrano clearly indicated a refusal to render services in a manner that materially breached his player contract. If they want to go for broke, they could argue that Zambrano in fact offered his retirement, which was immediately accepted by Jim Hendry. Alternatively, the Cubs could argue that Zambrano violated the personal conduct clause in his contract, but that’s almost always a no-go (every time it comes up, I’m reminded of Denny Neagle and his lady of the night). The Players’ Association will have a number of arguments, including the ambiguous nature of Z’s comments, the people to whom he directed those comments (i.e., not the Cubs’ GM or MLB), and the fact that, because Z had been ejected from that game and was thereafter prohibited from returning to the team, at no time did he fail to render services. From my (now former) lawyerly perspective, it’s a good analysis, based on the facts as we now know them.
- Carlos Pena says he was not talking about Carlos Zambrano when he made his comments about a lack of team chemistry and a need for a cultural change. “I would never single out any one of my teammates because that would defeat the purpose of what I’m trying to say,” Pena said. “I’m talking about being united, being together, working for a common goal and being positive and expecting things to happen and really being proud to wear the uniform.” Ok. I accept that. But, off the record, you were talking about Carlos Zambrano, right?
- Rick Telander wonders whether Jim Hendry should have foreseen the downfall of Zambrano, and whether it’s fair to blame Hendry now. I don’t think you can blame Hendry for signing Zambrano to the extension he did in 2007 – Z was still just 26, and near the top of his game. The contract was actually under-market, too. But, the complacency since then, and the failed (or lack of) efforts to move Zambrano this past Winter are clear marks against Hendry.
- Bob Brenly has some harsh words for Zambrano. “Never [was there] a day when the ballclub won a big game and you heard Carlos complimenting his teammates for what they did on the field,” Brenly said. “All of the explosions always followed personal failures on the part of Zambrano. I see no chance that that’s going to change in the future. I said it on the air, the only thing he’s gotten better at in his time in Chicago is being selfish.”
- Although Kerry Wood still believes Zambrano is, at heart, a good guy, it doesn’t sound like Wood is eager for Z to come back. “Seriously, baseball aside, Z’s a good person, man. He really is. He’s a good guy; he’s got a good heart; he gets it; he knows what the game’s about,” Wood said. “But, unfortunately, he’s had a history of not being able to control his emotions. I’m sure he’s well aware of it, and the people around him are well aware of it. The same thing that made him great — makes him great — is the emotion that he pitches with. But, again, it’s a double-edged sword. And that’s one too many times.”
- Given the now legal nature of things, it’s unsurprising that Jim Hendry and Mike Quade were mum when asked about Zambrano’s recent public apology. “There’s nothing else to say,” Hendry said. “The process will run its course.” Quade said, “It’s not on my radar. I’m not dealing with that today, that’s for sure.”
- Just an hour before his exclusive first interview with Zambrano aired, Dave Kaplan posted a scathing article about Z, saying that it’s time for the Cubs to make a huge cultural change. Dumping Zambrano, Kaplan said, is the starting point.