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Carlos Zambrano promised move to bullpen is temporary

Apr 26, 2010, 9:05 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for carlos zambrano.jpgCarlos Zambrano told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com that Cubs manager Lou Piniella promised him that his move to the bullpen will only be temporary as general manager Jim Hendry searches for a set-up man.

“Yeah, that’s what [Cubs manager] Lou [Piniella] said, that’s what we
agreed [upon],” Zambrano said. “They are looking for a setup man. That’s
what they told me. I don’t think I’ll be here [in the bullpen] too long
in this role. But I will be there when they need me.”

Hendry, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have a sense of urgency to change course.

“I never predict whether or not we’re going to acquire anybody or not,”
Hendry said. “I don’t have a time frame. This is just the best decision
for the club. A month from now we might have an injury or someone might
slip up, things can change.”

Though they haven’t been linked in talks yet, one possibility for the bullpen is right-hander Juan Cruz, who was inexplicably released by the Royals last week. Cruz was pretty awful last season, but remember that he still touches the mid 90s on his fastball and is just two years removed from a 2.61 ERA with the Diamondbacks.

Big Z made his debut out of the bullpen on Saturday, allowing one run
over 1 1/3 innings. After resting on Sunday, Piniella said the $17 million reliever is available for Monday night’s game
against the Nationals.
 

  1. Aaron W. - Apr 27, 2010 at 3:27 AM

    Seeing Carlos Zambrano, a former All-Star & statistically a top-10 pitcher in MLB over the last 6 seasons, in the bullpen is a dreadful thought to most Cubs fans; however, as a business decision, it makes sense. The Cubs are currently 6 deep in their rotation, and Zambrano’s maku-up is clearly the best for operating out of the pen. While many discuss his high salary, how is it “savings” by adding MORE payroll to cover the slot with another player via trade or FA signing (Perdo Martinez, Braden Looper, Juan Cruz, etc.)? As a life-long Cubs fan, I am not thrilled to see Z in the pen, but I can understand it. The bottom line is this: if it helps the team to win, Zambrano is earning his salary. It takes a strong character to do this without seeing it as a demotion. Zambrano deserves credit, as does the organization.

  2. Ross - Apr 27, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    Sorry, Aaron, but Z is a headcase. He does not forget mistakes. He has mental meltdowns. This isn’t a good thing for relief pitchers. When Z starts flaming out in a game, he doesn’t slowly show signs of losing it; it’s sudden and immediate.
    .
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