Posts Tagged ‘South Beach Latino All Stars’

I’ll always remember Carlos Zambrano as the guy who didn’t. He didn’t win 20 games. He didn’t win a Cy Young award, he didn’t help the Cubs win a championship, he didn’t deliver on the promise his career flashed early. He didn’t care about staying in shape, he didn’t become better, overall, Carlos Zambrano didn’t, and in this case it’s an extreme negative.

And now he is ex-Cub Carlos Zambrano.

While a certain part of me was always entertained by his antics, I’m not lamenting his loss. For those that question why the Cubs would eat so much money and only get Chris Volstad in return, you should probably understand that there were no offers for Z. Miami was the logical choice for him, he is finally united with his compatriot, his brother in arms as it were, Ozzie Guillen.

Carlos is a headcase. I’m not sure there are many other ways to put it. He was absolutely crazy and he was an asshole teammate. He had that competitive fire, he was intense, he fielded his position well, he was a good baseball player for awhile, but overall he could never strike the delicate balance between his talent and his passion.

I’ll never know for sure, but I believe that if Carlos is restrained more in his early, developmental years he ends up being a better pitcher. There was always something combustible with Z. He always seemed on the edge of a huge cliff, waiting for the slightest breeze to push him over. It was evident on the mound, with all of the histrionics.

He was enabled by the previous regime to be sure, but ultimately it was up to Zambrano to figure himself out and become a better pitcher. There were flashes like the bittersweet 2003 season where he managed to allow only 9 HR’s in 214 innings, no small feat at Wrigley. He was borderline brilliant through 2007 when the wheels slowly started falling off.

Zambrano has always out-pitched his peripheral stats. He had control issues on the mound, he walked too many batters, if his 2-seamer was off he didn’t have the guile to pitch over it and he was prone to the big inning. He placed too much pressure on himself to become the staff ace. He wanted to hit too many home runs.

At times it seemed like Zambrano cared more about his hitting stats than honing his craft as a pitcher. At times Zambrano lashed out at teammates, like Michael Barrett, Alfonso Soriano and, rather inexplicably, Derrek Lee.

The final straw came against the Atlanta Braves, as a frustrated Zambrano threw behind Chipper Jones for no reason. It was a confusing moment, so much so that I was hardly shocked when he did it again. In the same at bat. On the next pitch.

Most telling was the number of Cubs that took the field to defend Z. Absolutely not one of his teammates came to his defense as the Braves stormed the field after the second pitch to kick Z’s ass.

Zambrano will struggle in the NL East, or he might be brilliant, I have no idea honestly. All I know is that he is no longer the headache of the Chicago Cubs. He’s Ozzie’s problem now.

Let’s take a moment

Posted: November 12, 2011 by Mauricio Rubio Jr. in Baseball, MLB
Tags: , , , ,

And step back from the Penn State Story and all it’s sordid details. Let’s instead focus on the Miami Marlins and their bid to become a baseball superpower in one offseason.

As it turns out, the outfit from south beach has decided to make offers to Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Albert Pujols. Given that the Marlins have a substantial amount of young talent on the team and a crazy manager that no one in Chicago is quite ready to let go of yet, it would appear that the Marlins are tired of recycling superstar talent and are hellbent on outspending all of MLB to win this year.

Our Audio Technician Raul Parra called it. He Steve Stone’d it as soon as Ozzie was traded to the Marlins. The last time the Marlins did anything like this was in 1997 when they assembled a team loaded with all star talent and promptly unloaded them after winning a ring.

I like the offers to Jo-Jo Reyes and redneck Tommy John, but the Pujols deal will always be something that I’m wary of. Consider that he is coming off his worse season as a pro, he is likely in his decline phase, and will likely demand an 8 year deal at the minimum and I can see the Pujols contract hamstringing an organization for a long time.

Pujols at his peak was a pure monster, he was the rare slugger in that he was a hitter with power, rather than a power hitter. In 2006, for example, he hit 49 HR’s and only struck out 50 times.

That’s more than impressive, that’s damn near inhuman in the modern day of baseball.

There are significant signs that he is in his decline phase however, as his walk rate was significantly slashed, his ISO (isolated power) avg. number dipped to an all time low for him, and I believe he was simply hitting the ball with authority less often, as indicated by his all time low in BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play), and a high GB% (groundball percentage).

I wouldn’t give him the outlandish deal he is looking for. Cubs fans have dealt with the Fonzi contract, and White Sox fans will have to deal with the remaining Adam Dunn years, but this is likely to be different than both of those. For one, Pujols is playing in a position that is abundant with power talent. When you break down 1B players you have Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Mark Teixeira, Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez and Miguel Cabrera, just to name a few.

1B is clearly a position that is not lacking in the power hitting department.

You’re also likely to get more John Olerud-like performance out of Pujols rather than Ruth-like. It seems that given the numbers above, Pujols is sacrificing power to save contact.

This isn’t the 90’s anymore, there aren’t likely to be any secondary career peaks after 30 for these players. I respect the Marlins for going after it, but I don’t like the idea of giving Pujols a boatload of cash.