Why is everyone laughing at the Zambrano Yankee rumors?
While it is most likely that Hendry is lying awake with visions of Matt Capps (ugh) and Marlon Byrd (ooof) or even Scotty Pods (DON'T DO IT, JIM!!! I'm warning you) dancing in his head, it would be remiss of us to not mention the most recent and outrageous rumor about Big Z going to the Evil Empire.
It seems that the Yankees (Dutch for "John Cheese", a derogatory term for an American) are looking to make a trade for a front-line starter, and surprise, surprise, they are looking to take on salary so they don't have to give up top prospects. More than likely, this trade would include one of their center-fielders with big-league experience, Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner, that they no longer need.
Perhaps there is truth to the rumor being started by the New York media, or perhaps somebody just did some math and figured the Cubs have a highly paid, high-profile starter and also have a need for a CF, so they threw their dart there. Z's agent, when contacted, said that he hasn't been 'formally notified' and that Z would not waive his no-trade protection to go there regardless. It is a shame that we've heard this talk hundreds of times before, yet many players with no-trade protection start out denying all, then ended up moving anyway. Roy Halladay immediately comes to mind.
It's all posturing, negotiating tactics, to immediately deny contact and throw up the no-trade screen. Z's agent is waiting to see how the Cubs react to this story. If Hendry doesn't immediately and vehemently deny interest, then the agent will go to Z and say "look, they are shopping you after all", and then the dance begins. The one part of this that seems disingenious is his agent's assertion that Z doesn't want to play in New York.
Agent, please? Nobody believes that the Big Man wouldn't love the Big Stage.
What do I think? It takes effort, unfortunately, to sieve through my feelings and the facts of the situation. Based on talent alone, there's no way we should even consider getting rid of Carlos Zambrano. He's immature, still to this day. He succeeded a few years ago when he was young enough to get by on raw talent alone. Now that his body has started to rebel, a little, he needs to adjust, to take better care of himself and concentrate more on his craft, and most of all, to get his damn emotions in check. If and when he ever does that, he'll win 20, easily, so we should never consider getting rid of him, talent-wise, until he becomes completely impossible to live with, like Milton Bradley.
Then, though, you have to consider his gigantic contract. If we got rid of it, that would theoretically open up a lot of payroll that would be useful to improving the team as a whole.
Thing is, I have always considered the previous paragraph, in the Cubs case, to be completely invalid. The Cubs are probably neck-and-neck with the Dodgers for third in revenues, behind the Yankees and Red Sox. Any salary cap the Cubs set is artificial, and I am BITTERLY disappointed in the Ricketts for continuing to impose one. The Tribune set this point, doubtlessly with reams of business analysis, as the point where profit is maximized. The Ricketts claimed to be in this to win, not to make the most money.
Perhaps if there was a promise that, once the ballpark was rehabilitated to the point where it itself could generate maximum profits (which is necessary, to a certain point, and don't ever forget that Tom Ricketts, who famously met his wife in the bleachers, is nothing more than a Chad who loves the ivy-clad outdoor saloon as much, or more, than the Cubs themselves) that they would then plow the additional profits directly into the talent base...but that hasn't come up yet. I understand that money doesn't necessarily mean wins, but in this case, since so much money has been wasted on Z, Soriano, Fukudome and Bradley/Silva, and since we do not have many prospects ready to go, it's going to take money to get over the hump.
Which takes me back to my original stance - until Z becomes impossible to live with, moving his salary is unfair to us, the fans. We should be able to get a decent center fielder without having to consider whose current salary we would need to eliminate. For all the money we spend on the Cubs, we should be able to have our cake and eat it, too.