MLB Trade Rumors is reporting the Royals are expressing interest in Carlos Zambrano.
This announcement is most likely to illicit one of two responses, depending on how closely you follow baseball. 1) Carlos Zambrano? Awesome, I've heard of him. or 2) Carlos Zambrano?! &$^*$ he's crazy, old and expensive.
I think when it boils down to it, I'm in the second camp, but I'm still OK with the idea of acquiring him.
Yes, Carlos Zambrano is 30. Yes he hasn't pitched 200 innings since 2007. Yes he's….volatile. Yes, he's making a metric buttload of money for this year. But other than last year he hasn't posted an ERA+ under 111 since 2002, when he was 21.
The fact of the matter is, dude can pitch…when he wants to.
Make no mistake, I'm not willing to part with any kind of significant prospect(s) for Carlos Zambrano, nor am I willing to take on even close to a majority of the money he is owed, but I don't think we'll have to. The Cubs are desperate to get rid of him.
If we can get Carlos Zambrano for a Clint Robinson or a David Lough (or some other AAAA-type player that doesn't have a future in this organization anyway) and $5 million, to me its a gamble worth taking.
If the change of scenery does him some good, and we get 2009 Carlos Zambrano (127 ERA+, 8.3 K/9, 4.8 BB/9), that's not bad for a B prospect and $5 million.
If he attacks anyone in the dugout or demonstrates any other psychopathic tendencies on or off the field, we cut his ass and go on our merry way without really jeopardizing anything moving forward.
The other caveat to my approval of this development is that Carlos Zambrano has to be the third pitcher we acquire this year (I don't mean chronologically). Or, if he isn't, it can't be for lack of trying. Zambrano or no, we still need to be very aggressively shopping for a top-flight start pitcher with multiple years of team control.
Zambrano is a risk worth taking, but he needs to be icing on the cake.