While Crystal Bowersox might be making news for music fans, when it comes to sports, baseball trades are the only real news story. With Zack Greinke off the board after being traded to the Brewers, there seems to be sort of slim pickings for the New York Yankees as they try to bolster and shore up their starting rotation for the 2011 season. Of course Cliff Lee and his amazing left arm that torched the Yankees in the 2009 World Series (though of course the Bombers won the Series anyway) was supposed to be the answer to slot at number two behind big innings eating, twenty game winning CC Sabathia. Then the Phillies came in and stole home right out from under the Yankees. Now, rumors have been insisting that they are interested in Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.
Carlos Zambrano a Chicago Enigma
Baseball fans and credit card car insurance policy holders everywhere have scratched their head over this Big Z ever since he hit the big leagues. He was mostly great between 2003 and 2006, until he got the giant contract from the Cubs that put him in the top five league wide among starting pitchers. Carlos Zambrano has been known for his meltdowns and temper tantrums, breaking a bat over his knee in 2007 among many other escapades. In 2010 he had a classic tale of two seasons, playing terribly along with the rest of the team and then coming back over the last two months or so and pitching incredibly well, winning all eight of his decisions.
It had been said that the Yankees kicked the tires on Carlos Zambrano during the winter meetings in 2009, so if there was some interest it would not be entirely surprising. He has shown that when he wants to, he can pitch with some of the best in the game. He always wins more games than he loses even when the Cubs stink as a team. He has 116 wins for his career against only 74 losses, so the guy is a winner in the strictest sense of the word. But he is so hard for a team to keep in line because of his temper and his penchant to lose his mind at the most inopportune moment.
Larry Rothschild Signs with Yankees
Another interesting twist in this Carlos Zambrano discussion is that Larry Rothschild signed with the Yankees to be their new pitching coach. This is the same Larry Rothschild who was previously employed by the Cubs, the only pitching coach Carlos Zambrano has ever had. Conspiracy theorists say that it was Rothschild who helped Carlos Zambrano on his way to that sparkling finish to his 2010 season. The only trouble with that theory and any connection it might have to Big Z is that Rothschild was also there for all of the outbursts as well.
If Carlos Zambrano does end up playing for the Yankees in 2011, it would be a very interesting thing to watch unfold. He could very easily win 18 or 19 games, get kicked off the team, or both. He has shown that he's capable of doing a lot of good or bad. The Yankees do need some pitching in a major way, but a National League guy who's not even among the league's elite anymore if he ever was might be a stretch unless the price is right. There is no doubt that if he was focused, Carlos Zambrano could be a great pitcher for New York. He could feed off of the energy at Yankee Stadium and wearing the pinstripes and all that. But the exact opposite could happen too, depending on which Carlos Zambrano was actually in uniform that day.