Opening Day starter Carlos Zambrano has been informed he will be moved into the bullpen for Saturday's game. The Cubs will activate Ted Lilly off the disabled list for a start on Saturday, making the switch seemless for the other starters.
"This makes all the since in the world," Piniella said. "This is an area that needs some attention. (Lilly's return) gives us an opportunity to do it."
Zambrano dropped to 1-2 with a 7.45 ERA and despite making 17.8 million dollars this season, has pitched the worst out of the four other starters. Both Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Silva have performed beyond expectations early on in the rotation. The Cubs would be foolish to not ride that out as long as possible.
It will be interesting to see if Zambrano can control himself for one inning, or if this move will make him a complete wreck, taking the Cubs on a long and twisted path that ultimately leads to a trade...... This has disaster written all over it.
(More about the potential of a Zambrano trade after the BREAK)
The Cubs have the worst bullpen in the National League, with a 6.15 ERA ranking them at the very bottom. Carlos Marmol has struggled with his command, John Grabow has been flat out terrible, and the rest is a combination of young, unproven pitchers (minus Angel Guzman, who is out for the season) who have failed to step up to the plate (or rubber, in their case).
Bottom line... the Cubs need to make a trade.
One thing is for sure, if the Cubs do decide to move, there will certainly be some interest. But the Cubs need to be careful how they go about this, that is, if they do decide to eventually trade him.
Several teams are in need of a starter, however, may not be willing to take one who is in the middle of a five year, 91.5 million dollar contract signed in 2007. The Cubs aren't in a position to be absorbing salaries, either... here's why:
The Cubs already have a portion of Milton Bradley's contract on their payroll, are dealing with the disaster-contract of Alfonso Soriano, and still have big bucks invested in Marlon Byrd, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, and one year in Derrek Lee (who will probably get an extension).
The Cubs want to be a team that pulls from its minor league system without having to rely too much on the open market. However, they continue to spend to put a winning team on the field, only raising expectations for the club. Rarely have the Cubs pulled up any of their young talent for opportunities, stocking them in the minor leagues till they have lost any value they may have had.
The Cubs' farm system is looking a lot better than it has in recent years. It is time they use it to their advantage and put themselves in serious talks to land a big time player. Adrian Gonzalez is the left-handed power hitter the Cubs could really benefit from, as much of a fan I am of Derrek Lee.
The Cubs have a really tough season ahead of them: Stablize the bullpen, finalize the roation, decide what to do with Alfonso Soriano, and who knows what else.
All I can say, is the Cubs could really benefit from a strong season from Geovany Soto, and maybe even an early season preview from Starlin Castro, or else they are in for another disaster season.