Home > Uncategorized > UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano Reaches A New — And Maybe His Final — Low

UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano Reaches A New — And Maybe His Final — Low

If you can say only one thing about Carlos Zambrano, it’s that he is predictably unpredictable.

In other words, he’s crazy.

Keeping his emotions in check on the mound has always been a major task for Zambrano, even though we’ve repeatedly heard how he’s worked hard to change. However, he always seems to relapse. And tonight, he was at it again, in the middle of an incident that may have marked the end of his career.

First of all, Zambrano got absolutely pounded tonight by the Atlanta Braves.

Over.

And over.

And over.

And over again.

By now, Zambrano was pretty fed up. Five home runs allowed in 4.1 innings. He became the first pitcher this season to give up that many long balls in such a short outing. Zambrano could have just shook his head and trudged along, trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

Or he could just take the coward’s way out and try to find a way to get ejected from the game as quick as possible.

Guess which route Carlos chose?  Oh, how shocking.  He knew perfectly well what he was doing. He knew he wanted no more of that game.

During the last 30 seconds of that clip, I’ve tried my best to read lips; I would love to hear what Aramis Ramirez said in the middle of that huddle. Because he looks seriously annoyed, and I’m pretty sure it’s not because of anything the Braves did.

And notice how quickly Zambrano walked off the mound and then gave that little smirk in the dugout as he gathered his stuff and headed down into the tunnel. So maybe that anger management is working after all. Zambrano doesn’t appear to be a loud-mouth jerk anymore; now he’s a quiet, cold jerk.

But wait — it gets better!

Apparently, Zambrano wants no more part of Major League Baseball altogether. Here’s what Cubs manager Mike Quade had to say about Zambrano after the game:

“He didn’t have it tonight. I’m really disappointed. His locker is empty. I don’t know where he’s at. He walked out on 24 guys that are battling their (butts) off for him. I don’t know where he’s gone or what he’s doing. I heard he’s retired, or talking about retiring. … I come in here and I see an empty locker. I figure he’s decided he’s had enough. … He had a bad night. But he had a real bad night after it was over. You don’t leave your teammates.”

So, Zambrano stinks it up on the mound, gets himself ejected on purpose and then leaves quits on his teammates without saying a word. Classic Big Z.

I say good riddance. Maybe Zambrano’s antics were overlooked to a certain extent in the past because he was worth the trouble. He finished among the top-five in the National League Cy Young voting three times from 2004-07. But in 2011, Zambrano is just a headache with nothing to give him the benefit of the doubt. His ERA is 4.82, which would be a career high for a full season. His ERA+ is a career-low 90. He’s on pace to finish with the second-worst strikeout total of his career, all while still not knowing when to talk and when to keep his yap shut.

Zambrano is scheduled to make $18 million next season with a $19.25 million vesting option for 2013. When you consider the money, I don’t think Zambrano is just going to up and leave the game. But the Cubs should do anything they can to keep him out of their clubhouse after he walked out of it with only himself in mind on Friday night.

Seriously, after deserting his teammates, how can Zambrano ever be accepted by those players again, especially when he is performing his job at a level that’s nothing more than mediocre? Quade has done a lot of stupid things this season, but he would be a very smart man to suspend Zambrano for the rest of the season. It’s what he deserves at this point.

The Cubs can only hope Zambrano retires for good. The NL’s 15 other teams will probably do all they can to coax him into a return after watching his most recent performance.

And to think the New York Yankees were interested in acquiring this guy. The last thing they need is a pitcher who gives up home runs in bunches.

Oh, wait a minute

P.S. That’s a pretty cheap shot considering Zambrano’s been fairly pathetic and Sabathia has been in the Cy Young conversation. But they became the first pair of pitchers to allow five homers on a single night since Milwaukee’s Jeff D’Amico and Oakland’s Dave Telgheder did it in separate games on Sept. 21, 1996.

Update: According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cubs were told shortly after Friday’s game that Zambrano was “definitely” not retiring, and he put his stuff back into his locker during the middle of the night.

Well, isn’t that special?

Now go away.

And as fast as Carlos Zambrano leaves a clubhouse, the MLB Players Union is already thinking about filing a grievance challenging that move by the Cubs. No part of me wants this thing to be dragged out for an extended period of time, but every part of me thinks it will.

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