Phil Rogers opines that it might actually be beneficial for the Cubs to trade Carlos Zambrano. On the surface he isn’t wrong. But his reasoning is wide-right and the talent that he projects a trade would bring in return surely isn’t worth dealing a 25 yr. old #1 starter.
Let’s go over some of his points.
The Cubs could be as good with Zambrano as without him. It sounds
crazy, but for as well as Clemens pitched a year ago, the Astros were
only 10-9 in his starts. And the Philadelphia Phillies mysteriously
started winning after trading their best hitter, Bobby Abreu. It’s baseball, and silly stuff happens.
So the Astros were only 10-9 in Clemens starts. But if you were to replace Clemens with say, Miguel Asencio, they are more likely to have gone 6-13 in those starts. His supposition is illogical. It may be the case the Cubs are better without Zambrano. But it would not be because he’s gone. “It’s baseball and silly stuff happens” is a good indication of why Rogers writes and doesn’t have a front office position.
Even if the Cubs get a lot in return for Zambrano it isn’t likely to make them better right now. And so Zambrano is a Cub at least until the end of the year if they are in it. If not, perhaps he’s moved by the deadline.
Rogers then writes:
“The most likely way a Zambrano trade could work is the return on the trade itself.” Sounds like something Tim McCarver would say.
What if the Los Angeles Angels would deal Ervin Santana, one of their two shortstop prospects in Brandon Wood or Erick Aybar, and either a young arm like Nick Adenhart or a big-league-ready catcher like Jeff Mathis? What if the Yankees, seeking another impact arm for October, would send you Carl Pavano plus money to pay much of the $22.95 million left on his contract and a couple of their best prospects, say, right-handers Humberto Sanchez and Tyler Clippard?
Aybar is a decent prospect. Mathis is the eternal prospect. Ervin Santana is only a year younger than Zambrano and not as good. Adenhart hasn’t played past A ball yet. Wood hit 43 homers a year ago and likely is untouchable. Point is this: it’s going to be really hard right now to get a deal that satisfies both parties. Not to mention the Cubs spent $300+ million this offseason to win now.
Then Rogers says “Hold on to a prospective free agent all season, then lose him and you get only two high draft choices”. So what is the difference between that and the prospects he recommends trading for? You aren’t going to trade your ace now for something that may or may not happen, not when you have hopes of winning a very winnable division. If they are 20 out in July, by all means pillage some GM for half of his farm. Would you rather have Carl Pavano and 2 prospects or make a run with Big Z and still get 2 prospects at the end of the year if he leaves?
Hopefully all this chatter is avoided as Hendry gets Big Z to sign on the line that is dotted. But until the June swoon I really don’t want to hear about trading the Cubs best pitcher. It’s beyond foolishness.