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Friday, April 20, 2018

Moronic Suggestions: Carlos Zambrano for Kei Igawa Trade

Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano had his annual meltdown on Friday, going berserk in the dugout after surrendering four runs in the first inning to the White Sox. His actions were extreme, disrespectful, inappropriate, embarrassing, and it made him look like he was hopped up on drugs. The Cubs did the right thing by sending him home and saying he would be suspended indefinitely. However, I disagree with their decision to move him to the bullpen once he’s reactivated. Still, even moving him back to the bullpen is better than this idiotic suggestion by Chicago Tribune writer Phil Rogers. Rogers personifies what media overreaction is all about and gives sports writers a bad name with horrible ideas like this one:

The only way to trade a guy like that is to take someone’s bad contract off their hands. The Astros’ Carlos Lee fits that bill (can you imagine him and Alfonso Soriano on the same diamond?) but the one that makes a little sense is Kei Igawa, the little lefty who cost the Yankees $46 million and hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2008, working on his craft with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

While I can agree that there’s merit to the idea that the Cubs might have to get rid of Zambrano, feeling like all you can do is settle for a stiff like Kei Igawa is exactly why you shouldn’t trade him. First off, not only is Houston so far away from winning where I don’t think they would want Zambrano, but how would adding Carlos Lee help? That would create a further logjam of outfielders, giving the Cubs six pretty good ones with only three available spots. That wouldn’t help them at all. Now acquiring Igawa? Zambrano is a three-time All-Star who’s finished 5th in Cy Young balloting three times and he’s thrown a no-hitter. He might not be an ace anymore but he still has a record of being a very good pitcher. How on earth would it help the Cubs to trade a guy who has consistently been a good pitcher for someone who’s never proven he can get out a major league hitter?

Igawa is 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA in 16 big league appearances. He may be getting paid like a star but that was a complete scouting error by the Yankees; Igawa straight up sucks. Even in Triple-A this year he’s been smacked around, posting a 5.45 ERA and allowing opposing batters to hit .303 against him. I understand why people feel the Cubs might need to get rid of Zambrano, but suggesting they just give him up for a 6th outfielder or a pitcher who’s never been able to get out major league hitters — NEVER — is truly idiotic.

In my opinion the best way to handle it is ask Zambrano to go down to the minor leagues once his suspension is over. Z already said earlier in the year he’d be open to it as long as he can help the team and I think that would be the best way to humble him and help him rebuild confidence. Don’t dick him around in the bullpen; let him start in the minors, and hopefully in 4-6 weeks you can bring him back up and he’ll be ready to help the team again. With the undesirable contract he’s carrying, there’s no way you’ll get decent value in return for him so you might as well hope he gets back to his old form. That’s the only hope.

Cubs’ GM must move mountains to move out-of-control pitcher [Chicago Tribune]
Zambrano no longer has rotation spot [AP/FOX Sports]

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