With the draft signing day on Monday, and the Owners’ Meetings starting today, Carlos Zambrano probably picked a bad time to “retire,” get suspended, and then file a grievance if he wanted to have his hearing heard quickly.

  • Ryan Dempster says he doesn’t know if he’d welcome Z back on the Cubs if Carlos tried to return. “I don’t know, I really don’t know [if I would welcome him back in the clubhouse],” Dempster said. “To be honest with you, there are things that obviously he needs to figure out and figure out what he’s doing. And he’s going through tough times. To feel that way about everything and feel like you need to go home and retire, obviously there are things he needs to take care of before you even start talking about that …. I’m not going to sit here and bash him or rip him. He made some choices and he has to live with those choices and figure out what the repercussions are from those.” Dempster went on to say that he’s pretty sure Zambrano will not rejoin the Cubs at any point this season.
  • SI’s Jon Heyman says a rival GM told him that Carlos Zambrano remains at least a number four starter, despite his struggles this year. Hey, rival GM: need a fourth starter?
  • Losing Zambrano in 2012, as is expected, opens a hole in the rotation that the Cubs are not prepared to fill internally. With the free agent market notably thin, the next GM is going to have his hands full trying to revamp a rotation that was already in trouble.
  • Sammy Sosa wants to caution Zambrano, and other players who are thinking about retiring early, that it’s tough out there for an MLB-retiree. “Players think that when they sign a contract, everything is easy,” Sosa said. “When you retire and you try to do something besides baseball, it’s not easy. It’s tough. When you think everything is going to be the same and so easy as when you played baseball, it’s not that way anymore. I want to make sure [players] understand that. I want to speak to a lot of players. I want to tell them to save their money. I see a lot of players make all their money in baseball and when they retire it’s a mess. They surround themselves with some bad people. There’s so many bad people outside waiting to get their money. That reaction [on Friday] cost [Zambrano] $3 million. Maybe he doesn’t need it now, but later on he will. That’s money he worked hard for all his life.”
  • Reader/Commenter Toosh sent in his thoughts on Zambrano, which I thought I’d include here (if you’d like to send your own thoughts for potential inclusion in a future post, just contact me): “The Good, The Bad and the Ugh! Z?We’ve all heard, seen or read a lot about Carlos Zambrano lately. I’d like to share my views.

    When I think about Zambrano, I like to think about the positives. I remember how good a pitcher he was when he first came up. I loved watching his starts. When I wasn’t able to watch, or listen on the radio, I still knew the Cubs would probably win that day. Doesn’t a win make all Cub fans feel good? When Zambrano started, he rarely gave up a HR. Batters seldom got a good swing off of him. He was tremendous!

    What caused the changes since his early days? I’m sure there are many factors. It’s a shame. The Cubs could use his talent. Now and going forward. However, talent isn’t always enough. In a team sport, one player can’t just quit on the others. The Cubs have to take a stand and part ways with Zambrano. Whatever it takes. When that day comes, it will be a sad one for me. But for the best for both sides.

    Wherever Z pitches next, I’ll root for him. And remember the good things.”



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