Carlos Zambrano just went to the DL. Again. What odes this mean for the hot headed right hander? Well- I still think it’s in the Chicago Cubs best interest too continue trying to trade Carlos Zambrano to a contender. Whether or not he waives his no trade clause, it’s still the time. I believe that the Texas Rangers could be very interested in Zambrano…if the Cubs eat a lot of the salary.
Nolan Ryan now runs the organization, and everyone knows about his storied career, the no hitters, and the strike outs. However, some might not know what a competitor Ryan was. If anyone can relate to Zambrano, and potentially help his career….Nolan Ryan can. I think Ryan would actually love the challenge of turning around Zambrano’s promising career that’s fizzled out to being slightly above average.
Another solid reason why Zambrano could end up in Texas is Mike Maddux. Maddux is the best pitching coach in baseball, and maybe anywhere around, and he’s turned a really young rotation around to being very very good. If anyone can fix Zambrano- it’s Mike Maddux and Nolan Ryan, and I don’t think anyone can disagree with that talented duo.
So why Texas? Don’t they have a ton of outstanding arms in the organization? Absolutely. But none are ready. They have an already solid rotation, but Matt Harrison is a guy that could be replaced. Carlos Zambrano could fit into a rotation featuring CJ Wilson, Derrek Holland, Colby Lewis, and the surprising Alexi Ogando. Adding Zambrano instead of Matt Harrison could easily improve the rotation even if Zambrano doesn’t get any better. Matt Harrison is a guy that I don’t believe can get it done in the AL west for Texas, and if quality pitchers are available? They have to take a shot if they want to compete in the AL with the Yankees and Red Sox.
Who would the Cubs want in return? That’s a great question. If the Cubs were paying a ton of Zambrano’s salary, it’s likely they’d want a better package. If Texas was willing to pick up most of the salary, than the package could be a little more in Texas’ favor.
So how about a package of Tanner Scheppers, Robby Ross, and Cody Buckell? All 3 are still young, and all 3 have high upsides to pitch in the big leagues. Scheppers reminds me a lot of Jeff Samardzjia with better command. The hard throwing righty (whom I’ve always had a baseball crush on), has been going from the bullpen to the rotation and back to the bullpen trying to find his place. I believe some confidence has been lost, and he hasn’t had a real strong opportunity to help the big club. Coming to a Cubs team that needs to rebuild, could give him a renewed confidence because he’d likely pitch in Wrigley. I’d love to see him in the bullpen with Marshall, Wood, and Marmol. With Chris Carpenter learning on the fly, it would give the Cubs a quality hard throwing right hander right off the bat. Robby Ross is another kid whom I like quite a bit. He’s got a nasty power sinker from the left side, and I think he fits the profile of an arm the Cubs like. I can see him being a worm killer in wrigley and when the Wind blows in? Yum yum….yum yum. Still a little ways away and has to work on his command of his secondary pitches- but the upside? Very nice. Buckell was a young draft pick in 2010. His stride is absolutely crazy, and I absolutely love the way his lower half works. (Tim Lincecum anyone), and although he doesn’t have the velo that Timmy has, 92-93 with a plus breaking ball, and developing slider and change up? This kid has the chance to be very very good. I would rate him as the 2nd best arm in the Cubs system right off the bat- right behind Trey McNutt. He would be the guy I’d value the most from Texas in a trade for Carlos Zambrano and I think the Cubs would too.
I have no idea what the Cubs are wanting to do at the deadline. They keep saying their not going to have a fire sale, but what choice does Jim Hendry have? If they want to compete in the long term, you have to get value out of the farm system, free up some money, and sign some key free agents. There’s a decent nucleus in place, and some major talent is coming. Adding on to that? is key.