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Carlos Zambrano to Royals Rumors Erupt, Threaten to Destroy Internet as We Know it

The "Royals Interested in Carlos Zambrano" story began yesterday and heated up today. The chronology, if you are interested, began with Mark Carman at 610 Sports, which then hit the Chicago guys, then bounced back to MLBTR, which then meant everyone saw it. (H/T to Annoyed Grunt for again posting this link on RR first.) I randomly logged on to Twitter this afternoon and by the way some people were talking about it, a deal with seemingly imminent.

Enter Bob "The Sheriff" Dutton:

Even then, the Royals show little interest in making a trade.

"We’re open-minded with everything," Moore now says, "but we don’t have a lot of (financial) flexibility. That’s because we’re just not going to tie ourselves up."

On Twitter, Dutton made the same point: the Royals might be interested, if Zambrano is released. Zambrano's contract is one of those deals that everyone knows, at some vague level, is bad, but is kinda astonishing each time you see it again (like Vernon Wells's or Ryan Howard's). Big Z is owed $18 million in 2012 and $19.25 million in 2013, assuming he is healthy at the end of next season. Of course, in addition to his salary, Zambrano comes with much baggage, ranging from media antipathy to dugout fights to supposedly abandoning his team. For the clubhouse culture crowd, Zambrano is definitively seen as a terrible guy who is more or less unemployable.

Zambrano was a good, not great, pitcher in 2009-2010, when off-the-field conduct had begun to be a major issue in Chicago. During those years Zambrano was a 2-3 win pitcher, and while he wasn't a sabermetric darling, they/were the voices saying, perhaps, widespread calls to demote Z to the bullpen were extreme. Last year, Zambrano was worth just under one win, posting a 4.34 FIP.

2011 - Carlos Zambrano 9-7 25 24 0 0 0 0 145.2 154 80 78 19 56 101 4.82 1.44


I'm not quite sure what the point of doing a full-on analysis of Zambrano is at this point. He's a declining pitcher who is seeing his core strengths as a pitcher erode. Could he become a Royal? Sure, I guess. The new regime in Chicago has no ties to Zambrano and presumably they could release him outright. Or they might find a trading partner. Who knows? Zambrano is probably an upgrade over someone like Sean O`Sullivan, but that doesn't mean he's on his way to K.C. Maybe.